The Court of Appeal has decided that the DWP’s consultation on personal independence payment (PIP), which initially hid the fact that the qualifying mobility distance was to be reduced from 50 metres to 20 metres, was fair.
The decision brings to an end any hopes of avoiding an estimated 548,000 working age disability living allowance (DLA) claimants losing their higher rate mobility award on being forced to apply for PIP.
The original consultation into PIP failed to disclose the reduction in the qualifying distance which will lead to many thousands of current higher rate DLA mobility claimants having their award cut or stopped altogether.
The legality of the consultation process was then challenged by a disabled claimant who launched a judicial review.
As a result, before the case could be heard, the DWP hastily arranged a second consultation just on this issue. In spite of overwhelming opposition to the reduction, the DWP went ahead with the planned cut.
In the Court of Appeal, the claimant’s representatives argued that the consultation was not fair because by the time it took place legislation had already been enacted and systems put in place for the 20 metre rule to be used. They claimed that because of this there was no genuine possibility of the second consultation making any difference.
548,000 to lose out
The judges accepted that, because of the changes , by 2018 there were expected to be 602,000 PIP enhanced mobility component claimants as opposed to 1,030,00 claimants who would have got disability living allowance (DLA) higher rate mobility.