British Lung Foundation
35,421 members42,784 posts


PIP – the new disability benefit – must be urgently reviewed

Many current disability living allowance claimants with significant mobility impairments, including many wheelchair users, will lose their entitlement. Photograph: Imagewerks/Getty Images/Japan

After more than two years of discussion, consultation and campaigning, regulations replacing disability living allowance (DLA) with personal independence payment (PIP) were passed into law on 5 February. Implementation will be phased from this year until early 2018.

Disabled campaigners are horrified that under last-minute changes to the PIP criteria, claimants with physical mobility difficulties will have to show they can "stand and then move" no more than 20 metres "safely, to an acceptable standard, repeatedly and in an acceptable time period" to secure the enhanced mobility component. This means claimants who can walk 20 metres reasonably well but start to struggle at, say, 30 metres, won't be eligible for the Motability scheme or support to fund a private car or taxis.

It is hard to overstate the fear engendered by these criteria. Since 20 metres is a very short distance, many current DLA claimants with significant mobility impairments, including many wheelchair users and those who depend on their Motability vehicle to travel independently, will lose their entitlement.

One of our biggest fears is of isolation and loneliness, of being housebound, since for most of us contact with family and friends depends on being able to go out. Research on the impact of the Motability car scheme by Oxford Economics in 2010 concluded: "... by enabling people to visit family and friends more frequently, Motability increased its customers' wellbeing by the monetary equivalent of up to £3.2bn in 2009".

This is exemplified by the experience of a current DLA claimant: "I had left work and was becoming increasingly isolated. Receiving DLA [higher rate mobility component] has ... transformed my life by allowing me to be part of the community again – to go to the supermarket, the cinema, visit friends."

Another claimant expresses her fears about the impact of the 20-metre rule: "I have until March 2014 left on my [DLA] higher rate mobility claim and to lose my Motability car entitlement would condemn me to being virtually housebound."

Recent research has shown that chronic isolation does real physical damage, affecting cardiovascular health and reducing life expectancy. An international study has found that involuntary loneliness carries a higher mortality risk than air pollution or obesity. Under PIP, many people face loneliness and isolation and, according to the available evidence, deteriorating mental and physical health and a shorter life expectancy.

It is extraordinary that, despite clear evidence of the negative effects of loneliness on physical and mental health, and a total lack of evidence that 20 metres is the appropriate distance to decide eligibility for support to enable independent mobility, the government plans to exclude hundreds of thousands of people with significant mobility impairments from the support they need to be independently mobile.

This makes absolutely no sense in terms of preventing poor health or reducing public spending. PIP is bad for the economy and bad for public health; it needs more thought before it is too late.

And the link to where this post is taken from is...

10 Replies

Is it ok if I copy this and add my two'pennorth to it before forwarding it to my MP, stone ?


Hi continue the more support the better.


Thanks for highlighting this Stone, I am making an apiontment to see my MP and with your ok will use parts of your blog in a letter to the County Press. I live in Somerset and we have many "iosllated" communities ( small villages and hamlets) where disabled people rely 100% on their benefits to be able to live. They may be able to manage to walk ( in pain) 30 metres but a bus stop may be 1 mile away and with the bus companies cutting back on routes that do not pay, some services are only run once a day,using smaller Mini buses with no wheelchair acces



That is good point, people do not often realise the number of communities, that are isolated.


Thanks for this article Stone - MP here I come - again!



This is how Hitler started. How long before this hateful government takes a look at the gas chamber option.

PS No insult intended to the Jewish community but this government of Eton educated millionaires is doing everything within their power to oppress the poorer members of society to pay for the mistakes of their banker friends. This is the biggest misuse of electoral power ever imposed on this country. Scandolous doesn't start to describe it.


Hi stone, glad you raised the issue of the new mobility regulations and thanks cofdrop for keeping the local MPs informed. I have been looking into the new regulations and the claim form, and as you state many DLA mobility claiments could loose benefit if they just tick the wrong boxes. The top of the form states clearly as in the past to remember whether you can do the walking, without pain, breathlessness, tiredness ect. As in the past you will have to emphasise the negative effects of your illness, as the distant has been reduced, i.e if you have constant pain when walking you cannot technically walk any distance, if you are partially sighted you cannot walk unaided as you need supervision, if you get tired or breathless this affects your ability to walk,if you have no limbs then you cannot walk as you need a prothsesis aid in order to walk. If you need a walking stick,frame or wheelchair then you cannot walk unaided. Hope my twopennath gives you a hint as to how hard you will have to show the negatives if your entitlement is being reviewed or renewed.


Hi Stone, as you want as many people as possible to now about this, can i pass it on to my brothers and sisters in Unite the Union?.

All the very best






In the summer with oxygen and although breathless can walk 20 metres. After all 20 metres is a very short walk. But on a cold day I cannot reach their safely. And anyway could not travel on a bus as it is a struggle to the bus stop. And my oxygen cylinder would be liable to run out and I would be stranded. Not this this government gives a toss do they. I like many others need my mobility car to get around otherwise I too will become just about housebound. I have no care cash or anything else. but prize the car as without that i would not have a life. Maybe this government would like us to do the decent thing by them. And top ourselves. Cameron and his cronies should be taken court charged with offences against the disabled.


You may also like...