DWP minister Baroness Altmann has been forced to issue a humiliating written apology after entirely misleading the House of Lords about the criteria for the mobility component of personal independence payment (PIP).
Baroness Altmann repeatedly claimed in a debate in the House of Lords on 4 May that claimants who cannot walk 50 metres would be guaranteed to receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP:
“Under PIP, if a claimant cannot walk up to 20 metres safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely manner, they are guaranteed to receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component. If a claimant cannot walk up to 50 metres safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely manner, then they are guaranteed to receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component.” (<href="#contribution-16050467000068">See Hansard)
In fact, a claimant who is able to walk more than 20 metres but less than 50 metres is only entitled to the standard rate of the mobility component, not the enhanced rate, unless they also score points for planning and following journeys.
It was the change from 50 metres to 20 metres for the enhanced rate that has caused such misery to the many thousands of higher rate DLA mobility claimants who are transferred to PIP and lose their Motability vehicles.
After the debate Baroness Altmann had to write a letter of apology to all the Lords who had spoken and place a copy of the letter on the record.
The letter admits Baroness Altmann’s mistake, which even a badly briefed DWP minister should never have made, and ends with a handwritten note stating:
“I am truly sorry that I need to correct this, please accept my apologies.”