Monday, 8 April 2013

PIP faces Legal Challenge!

Thanks again to the impossibly passionate Jane Young, wearespartacus.org.uk have today announced they will be working with  and  to challenge changes to the new PIP (Personal Independence Payments replacing DLA or Disability Living Allowance) mobility criteria.

Campaigners like Steve Sumpter (@latentexistence), myself, Kaliya Franklin and Jane herself have been invited to explain on radio and TV today, just what the changes will mean.

As regular readers will know, the government have constantly misled the public over the new benefit, claiming a 35% rise when Spartacus Report showed clearly that the rise is only 13% for the working age group who will be affected. Physical conditions have remained totally stable, whilst the 13% rise is almost all due to a rise in mental health conditions and learning disabilities, a trend seen worldwide, not just in the UK.

The DWP misled the public over the first consultation, claiming broad support for the changes, when in fact there was almost none.

After a passionate journey through the House of Lords, the government simply overturned all of the amendments we'd won (amendments that were reasonable and could have made PIP safer and fairer) using an archaic 16th century law known as "financial privilege"

Even at that point, once the changes had become law, the government assured campaigners that once they announced the finer details of PIP, there would be no further policy changes, However, when "regulations" were finally announced just before Christmas, the criteria for claiming the most help with mobility problems had been slashed from 50 mtrs to 20 mtrs without consultation or warning.

This means that many of the most vulnerable claimants of all will no longer qualify. A whopping 600,000 of them. The ability to walk 50 mtrs might just get you to your car and out at the other end, to, say, get to a supermarket scooter. 20 mtrs will get few people from their homes to even their car, leaving over half a million sick or disabled people effectively housebound.

As we all rush from interview to interview, it's clear those put up to oppose us don't even understand DLA or what it does. With that in mind, I thought I'd lay out the key points here for any of you to use or pass on.

All we can do is set the record straight whenever we are given the chance, so do feel free to copy and paste the following and send to whoever you can.

1) DLA is a working benefit. It does not stop a sick or disabled person from working - quite the opposite in fact. It is often used for transport to and from a job if the recipient can't manage public transport, or for care at home, to enable the claimant to get up and dressed in the mornings just to get to work.

2) The number of DLA claims HASN'T risen by 35%, for working age claimants (the only one's affected by PIP) the rise is 13%. There has been almost no rise at all in claims for physical conditions, the rise is almost entirely down to an increase in mental health and learning disability claims, a trend seen in every country of the developed world. By far the biggest increases come from demographics, children or pensioners, groups the government aren't transferring to PIP.

3) There were always face to face assessments for DLA (Atos did those too) and claimants always had to support their claims with evidence from their own GP or consultant

4) The government claim DLA needs reform because so many get lifetime awards. However, they announced a few months ago that they won't even be testing those with indefinite claims at all until after the next election. Indefinite awards make up nearly 70% of all DLA awards and the government claim over and over that it is this group who have been "left to languish" yet they've decided to do nothing about it at all.

5) DLA does not act as a dis-incentive to work, far from it. 60% of disabled people in the UK work.

6) Fraud is just half of one percent as consistently proven by the DWPs own figures. Yet the George Osborne announced a 20% cut back in June 2010 before a single assessment had taken place.

7) DLA saves the taxpayer many times the amount it costs. Study after study shows that sick and disabled people spend their DLA with amazing efficiency. If DLA is withdrawn, the need doesn't just go away and costs are simply transferred to an already crumbling social care service or the NHS.

8) The higher rate mobility criteria was slashed from 50 mtrs to 20 mtrs without consultation or warning, meaning that over 600,000 people will no longer qualify for the benefit. These are people who can barely walk at all - the most vulnerable the government claim to be protecting.

9) In many cases, DLA is not even paid to the sick or disabled person, but goes directly to social services for care or to the motability scheme for a car modified to suit particular impairments

Please join us in countering the propaganda and mis-information our government are churning out today. Feel free to use these facts in any way. Every challenge shows a few more people what is really going on in their name.







28 comments:

  1. Variable conditions?
    Tick box questions never cover that....
    Pain?
    Tick box questions never cover that....

    I do not believe that many health "proffesionals" understand chronic pain, they choose to misunderstand psychological pressures, and frankly I have no faith in the Atos/DWP system at all.

    Will a judge look at the whole picture, or will he be restricted to look at one item. I suspect this will still not address the many day to day problems that PIP will throw up, let alone address the mess the ESA system is in!

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  2. PS. Mind, well done on getting this bit to be looked at. Thank you:-)

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  3. dont forget under pip (can someone find this to confirm?) you can also be awarded without a face to face interview, using your own medical history. Another thing carried over from dla..

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    1. Yes I read that in some cases if you supply enough medical evidence you may be awarded PIp but that they expect "the vast majority of cases to need a face to face test" this implies that vast number of people do not give evidence when apply, which we all know is untrue!

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  4. I don't understand if you only 20m before need to stop, how this can then be judged as safely repeat ly and reliably? If you need pause for breath between 20m for 2m then 20metre more still tong take you an age to get anywhere! And what if you need to sit down for 5-10m or longer between each 20metres? Who decides if that still being able to do it repeatedly?

    People who don't hurt, or feel like going pass out with effort never have to count their steps or measure the distance in crossing the room. If they were stopped every 20metres for 5minutes for a day they would soon see how frustrating it is.

    I wonder about the knock on effects, if your a shop with lots of blue badge spaces will it be ok to remove those more than 20metres from the door, on the principle that those who can walk that far now no longer qualify for a blue badge! So if you park and managed to get to the door you prove you don't need one!

    Well done those who are fighting this stupid, restrictive new rule.

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    1. If you can't walk 20m repeatedly (however often they mean, I don't know) you shouldn't be considered able to walk 20m. Hope that helps.

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  5. http://odi.dwp.gov.uk/disabled-people-and-legislation/disability-equality-duty-and-impact-assessments.php

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  6. Yes, the requirement to be able to do anything safely, reliably and repeatedly is important to note. I also believe that if you would take longer than twice as long to do something as a fully able bodied person would then you are legitimately counted as not being able to do it.

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  7. can not walk more than... means normally. if you do not have to stop then explain the pain is constant. So you can not walk at all - normally, as every step is in pain. The gp's who do the questionnaire want to spoon feed the answer for you as oh you can walk but how far, one should complain that one was spoon fed the answer, your answer should be I can not walk at all normally. When you get an aid at the toilet say a toilet high seat or toilet rails it is because you can not go to the toilet normally, with aids you do go but not normally, you are entitled to have this accepted as part of your mobility and care. When you get a scooter or vehicle it is because you can not get out normally this is considered for your mobility. So you can do some things with aids or support but not normally. Stopages were brought into to prove you can not walk normally but being in constant pain isent normal either however it is shown.

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    1. Thanks, that sounds clearer:-)

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  9. Sorry, had trouble making my links work...

    Please view my Open letter to David Cameron at my blog, Revenge of the Benefit Scroungers

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  10. It still scares me that, if I can walk 20m, stop, rest, walk 20m, stop, rest, walk 15m, stop and fall down in burning agony, because I have covered 55m, I don't qualify for Mobility and lose my car.

    If one can walk 20m to get to a car, 20m to the supermarket, then this is classified as repeatedly, even with a 10-15 minute gap between. Please note, you still have to walk 20m back to the car and 20m back home!

    Disabled people are well known for pushing themselves to the limit, but if you have strived to push yourself far enough to do the tests, you are classed as a skiver as you can do them. Would they prefer a black and white world, where disabled people are stuck in wheelchairs 24/7 and anyone who can walk is fit?

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    1. In their world, disabled people should be immobile, like stone statues, never moving or doing anything as anything beyond that would mean they are fit.

      Oh wait, that's called "being dead". Kind of sums it up.

      This is just the beginning and they have had all the warnings about the repercussions - shame we all know what's going to happen and that many will suffer, be made homeless and die but much of the public seem to be swallowing the bullshit the govt are putting out.

      Also: Georgie O ducks a face-to-face with Tanni Grey-Thompson - she is censored. I think they are trying to suppress this story too.

      http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/george-osborne-ducks-tv-debate-1817658

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    2. Anthony - If that was the case, the person would still qualify under the "reliably, repeatedly, safely and in a timely fashion" clause. Hope that helps

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    3. It doesn't sound to me, Anthony, as if you would be considered able to walk more than 20m reliably, repeatedly etc. But it's all down to the assessor, at the end of the day. I guess the feeling is, it's too close for comfort, making the distance so short!

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  11. Just in case anyone's worried, automatic entitlement to a blue badge will be from getting 8 points (standard rate) in the moving around activity. But obviously standard rate doesn't get you onto the Motability scheme and is much less money. The criteria for 8 points is 50 metres, pretty much

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  12. I wonder about PIP and people with conditions such as agoraphobia which makes them housebound, isolated and unable to get out at all without the support of trusted person, or the use of a car. My Dad has been agoraphobic for many decades. He's stuck at home, won't walk beyond the front gate and can only go out if he uses his own car and then won't leave the car unless he can park right outside of the door and not more than a few metres inside. He had to fight for a blue badge. They turned him down initially but said they'd consider it if he was examined by an occupational therapist. Only, he had to go to them for the assessment, and of course being agoraphobic, he was unable to! The MP had to step in to help. He's not entitled to middle rate or higher rate DLA. He can't do his own shopping, never been in a supermarket in his life. He's completely dependent on other people for his survival and an old car for any mobility. He's a pensioner, so this is my question, can he apply for PIP? I hear that it supposed to be better for people with mental health problems, or is McVey spinning a yarn when she claims that PIP is based on "today's understanding of disability"? One thing I do understand, is that hundreds of thousands of disabled people who are in desperate need support are going to lose it.

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    1. The lower rate of DLA was what was normally given to people with care needs that stemmed from some mental problems but that has been removed in PIP - theres no lower rate of three any more.
      PIP though is only for 16-64yr olds so if he is beyond that he wouldnt be able to apply.

      If he is over 65 it is Attendance Allowance that he should apply for:
      https://www.gov.uk/attendance-allowance/overview

      It has two rates but unlike DLA or PIP theres no separation of care and mobility. His agoraphobia having such a major effect on his life and mental health would certainly look to qualify him for the lower rate.

      One other thing that might help would be to look at something called Direct Payments - dont confuse it with direct payment which is the system of being paid into your bank account, politicians do bugger all to clear up that its actually two different things.
      Direct Payments are basically a payment from social services to allow you to hire a carer to assist you with daily life or even single one off payments for things they think will help you:
      https://www.gov.uk/apply-direct-payments

      I'm borderline agoraaphobic myself so they did the entire assessment in my home with my carer. The counsellor that was assigned to me came to my home weekly for therapy and I have been granted 2 one off payments to help me go to small courses at my local college to encourage me to leave my home. My severely autistic baby brother has been granted payments to allow one of his carers to take him on holiday and give the others a break as well as for small household items that he needed for his physical disability. Its made quite a difference and may be able to give your Dad access to mental health support in his home, a care worker to help him get about etc.

      Hope this helps!

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  13. I wonder why we are not enabled via legal counsel at PIP interviews ? As the assessment is a clear breach of Human Rights we surely need it ? We are told we had no right to legal representation on ANY DWP assessment, it was private.

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  15. It doesn't sound to me, Anthony, as if you would be considered able to walk more than 20m reliably, repeatedly etc. But it's all down to the assessor, at the end of the day. I guess the feeling is, it's too close for comfort, making the distance so short! tax attorney los angeles

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  18. Yes, the requirement to be able to do anything safely, reliably and repeatedly is important to note. I also believe that if you would take longer than twice as long to do something as a fully able bodied person would then you are legitimately counted as not being able to do it.
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  19. Does any one know (1) if a personal face to face with Qualified Medical assessor is mandatory in the new legislation ? (2) how many claimants are having personal face to face medical assessments. Cos I do not know anyone.

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