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Just before Christmas claimant RF won a vital high court challenge against changes to the law relating to PIP mobility. However, the victory could still be overturned on appeal, meaning there has not been any change to the way PIP is awarded yet and there is another case know as MH which could also have an effect.

Background
Early in 2017 an upper tribunal of three judges clarified the law relating to ‘Going out’ in a way that was favourable to claimants who become very distressed when attempting to plan and follow journeys.

Amongst other things, the tribunal decided that claimants who need help with familiar routes because of overwhelming psychological distress could be eligible for the enhanced mobility component.

However, the government almost immediately changed the law in an attempt to reverse this decision.

They also appealed against the decision, in a case known as MH, which is likely to be heard in June 2018.

The change in the law consisted of adding the words ‘For reasons other than psychological distress,’ to three descriptors

The aim of the DWP was to ensure that claimants who have difficulties with following journeys because of psychological distress are less likely to get an award of PIP on those grounds.

The RF case
On 21 December 2017 the changes to the legislation were found to be unlawful by the high court in a judgement known as RF.

The high court found that the changes discriminated against people with certain disabilities, in breach of the Human Rights Act. The court also found that the government broke the law by not consulting on the changes first.

The DWP can seek to appeal against this decision and we should find out fairly soon whether they have been given leave to appeal.

Until leave to appeal has either been refused, or the appeal has been granted and heard, the law will stay as it is currently and claimants with mental health conditions will continue to be discriminated against.

The MH case
However, matters are further complicated by the fact that, as explained above, the DWP have appealed against the original upper tribunal decision that prompted the DWP to change the law. That case is known as MH

If the DWP win the appeal in MH then it will no longer make any difference whether they lose RF or not.

In other words, things will not improve for claimants unless the DWP lose both the appeals in MH and in RF. If they win either then the law continues to discriminate against some claimants with mental health conditions.

On the bright side
There is a positive side, however.

The high court came down very strongly in support of the claimant in RF. So, even if the DWP do manage to get an appeal heard there is a strong chance they will lose RF again.

Meanwhile, the arguments relating to discrimination in MH are very similar to the ones in RF, so there is a good chance that the DWP will fail in their attempt to overturn the upper tribunal decision.

So, there is a real possibility that claimants will win both cases.

But, the complexity of the legal situation, and the option of further appeals to even higher courts, does mean that the law may not change for a long time yet.

Lodging your own appeal
In the meantime, if you lose out as a result of the changes to the law, then it would definitely be worth seeking advice about appealing the decision.

It is likely that any appeal on these grounds will be put on hold until the current legal mess is untangled, but if the claimants succeed in both cases then your appeal will eventually be heard.

There’s more information about the changes to the law in our guide to claiming PIP in the members area.

You can read the full judgement in RF here

You can read the full judgement in MH here

Comments  

#8 Crazydiamond 2018-01-22 15:57
It will be interesting to see what tactics the DWP employ now that they have accepted the decisions of the Upper Tribunal and the High Court?

I distinctly remember the DWP informing PIP assessors and decision makers when dealing with descriptor 1e, which read “cannot undertake any journeys because it would cause overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant” in relation to activity 1 (planning and following journeys), it would be expected that a claimant would have been housebound for many years.

That was not only unlawful but completely wrong, because the actual qualifying period for PIP is at least three months before you can be paid. You must also be likely to continue to satisfy whichever test applies for a period of at least nine months after that three-month period. So in effect, the actual qualifying period in total was in fact at least twelve months andnot “many years' as defined by the DWP.

Don't be surprised if there is another sordid attempt by the DWP to use similar tactics to deny claimants the mobility component of PIP for descriptors 1c, 1d and 1f.
#7 Crazydiamond 2018-01-20 08:55
**MAJOR UPDATE**

More than 150,000 people set to get higher disability benefits in massive victory after humiliating Tory U-turn. See:-

https://tinyurl.com/y88rzk3j

https://tinyurl.com/y8vmcc6c
#6 ThisGovernmentsGoneToFar 2018-01-20 00:52
Well folks it looks like there's some good news has emerged over this?

Esther McVey makes disability benefits U-turn over payments. High court ruling says policy was discriminatory against people with mental health issues.

(Up to 164,000 people are in line for increased disability benefits after ministers gave in to a high court ruling that said government policy had been “blatantly discriminatory” against people with mental health conditions.

In a major U-turn, the new work and pensions secretary, Esther McVey, said she would not challenge the December ruling that found changes to personal independence payments (PIPs) could not be justified.)

See full story here: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2018/jan/19/esther-mcvey-makes-disability-benefits-u-turn-over-payments
+1 #5 JayneL Linney 2018-01-18 09:04
I'm convinced its luck of the drw as to who you get as 'decision maker' I've seen almost identical applications receive totally different awards
#4 Aspirant 2018-01-17 12:12
I received Enhanced Mobility PIP solely for MH without a face to face because I was able to submit a letter confirming that I was advised not to go out alone for my own safety. Perhaps the way ahead at the moment is to focus on the consequences of the distress, not the distress itself.
+1 #3 ThisGovernmentsGoneToFar 2018-01-16 10:24
Well done to the winners of this?

I know the DWP won't let this one go they will waste more money just to fight this and cost to us and the tax payer just to be cruel to the less fortunate in life. This is a said position to discriminate the mentally ill in our society. Shame on this Government let it go your in the wrong.
#2 terry 2018-01-15 15:17
They will just keep changing the
Goal Posts.
+1 #1 mrfibrospondodysthmatic 2018-01-15 14:36
There is never a bright side as far as the DWP's concerned.

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