The government has lost a legal battle which will result in a change to the rules of Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefits and will see thousands of people being granted higher disability benefits.
Rules that state people can carry out tasks unsupervised if it’s “unlikely” that they will come to harm have been scrapped. The old rule meant some people with conditions like epilepsy were more likely to be refused PIPs.
Judges have now ruled that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should base decisions on how serious harm is, not how likely, a report stated.
The changes will mean around 10,000 people will now get between £70 and £90 extra a week backdated to the tribunal in March.
Two other tribunals nine months ago said that 165,000 PIP claimants should get higher benefits but this was defied by disabilities minister Penny Mordaunt. A DWP source said that these tribunals were different and tried to widen PIP beyond its “original policy intent”, according to The Mirror.
But Phil Reynolds of Parkinson’s UK told the newspaper: “This leaves disabled people in a really confused position about what the Government might do next and what the change means for them.
“Instead of chipping away at the issue, the Government needs to undertake a thorough review of the entire assessment to ensure people get the support they need first time.”
Meanwhile, Laura Wetherly of the MS Society, said: “Any change to make assessments more accurate is a positive move, but the PIP rules are still riddled with problems. Realistically, the whole system needs to be reviewed.”
Disability charity Scope that that the assessment process is flawed and should be reviewed, while Labour Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary, Debbie Abrahams, called the changes a “drop in the ocean”.
Changes to the rules will also see people with mental health issues or “sensory difficulties” better considered during the PIP assessment process.