Good and Bad news from DWP

According to Healthunlocked:

"It may be one of the shortest lived legal victories by claimants on record.

The Court of Appeal today ruled that most of the DWP’s forced labour schemes were unlawful and that anyone who had been sanctioned under them should have their lost benefits repaid. Within hours the government had set about trying to enact new regulations with immediate effect to reinstate the work for your benefits schemes. They have also vowed not to repay any sanctioned benefits, despite the judges’ ruling.

In keeping with this government’s attitude to the law, it is increasingly clear that the consultation on personal independence payment was a massive con trick. Not only was the qualifying distance for enhanced rate mobility reduced from 50 metres to 20 metres after the consultation ended, but it now seems likely that the DWP’s intention is that it is primarily people who have problems moving around indoors who will be deemed to qualify.

The positive news is that a group of claimants are trying, with a real possibility of success, to get the PIP mobility rules quashed by the courts – but they won’t succeed without your help.

Unfortunately, while claimants, supported in some cases by lawyers, fight the government’s anti-claimant campaign with enormous courage and imagination, we have news that the national charity which claims to represent sick and disabled claimants is mired in yet more controversy."

The part about "Not without our help" makes me wonder if I actually should take my dla appeal outcome to the higher court. My argument was for higer mobility and got nothing on this, which is less understandable than getting low care depite the needs.

My lawyer, as I think most of them, advises not to take it further because of the fear of getting a lower award or nothing. Is this the right/fair thing to do? I'm aware many here have taken it also for not having the health to continue fighting - perfectly understandable but is it the right thing to do?

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  • For those who are not on HU web:

    FORCED LABOUR WAS, AT LEAST BRIEFLY, ILLEGAL

    The DWP suffered a crushing defeat this morning after a university graduate and a mechanic took them to court over being forced to do unpaid labour in return for their benefits. Having lost in the High Court, the duo, supported by the public law project, won their case at the Court of Appeal (open access)

    Most of the government's back to work schemes were declared illegal by the court and any sanctions against claimants who failed to participate in forced labour will now have to be repaid by the DWP.

    However, by this afternoon employment minister Mark Hoban announced that the government is already exploring a number of options to avoid repaying sanctioned benefits to claimants and that new regulations are being enacted – possibly today - to try to ensure that forced labour can carry on as before (open access)

    The court ruling is a huge embarrassment to the DWP and it may find it difficult, in practice, to refuse to repay sanctioned benefits, although it can certainly drag the process out for a very long time even if its proposed appeal to the Supreme Court fails.

    PIP ENHANCED MOBILITY ONLY FOR PEOPLE WITH INDOOR MOBILITY PROBLEMS

    The DWP appear to be planning to only pay the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP on physical grounds to claimants whose mobility is so restricted that they have difficulties moving between rooms indoors. Those who can manage indoors but have difficulty outdoors may only be awarded the lower rate of the mobility component.

    Atos and Capita, the companies carrying out PIP assessments, have been told that:

    “20 metres is considered to be the distance that a claimant is required to be able to walk in order to achieve a basic level of independence in the home such as the ability to move between rooms.

    “50 metres is considered to be the distance that a claimant is required to be able to walk in order to achieve a basic level of independence such as the ability to get from a car park to the supermarket.”

    To score the required 12 points to get enhanced rate mobility for physical health problems alone, a claimant must prove that they can’t stand and move more than 20 metres even using aids and/or with assistance. This means that in the majority of cases the private sector health professionals are likely to be looking for evidence that the claimant has problems with indoor mobility, rather than outdoor, if they are to be awarded the enhanced rate.

    You can read more on this here (open access)

    PIP MOBILITY CHANGES MAY BE ILLEGAL – YOUR HELP IS URGENTLY NEEDED

    Meanwhile another group of claimants has secured legal support to challenge the last-minute change to the PIP regulations which deny enhanced rate mobility to anyone who can stand and move more than 20 metres.

    They will be arguing that the failure to consult about the reduction of the limit from 50 metres to 20 metres means that the change is unlawful and should thus be quashed. If successful it would be a bigger blow to the government than today’s forced labour ruling. The result would be that the DWP would be obliged to consult all over again on the changes before they can be introduced. In the end they can still ignore the results of a new consultation, but they will face a very determined battle and will have no opportunity to claim that disability organisations supported the changes.

    At the very least it would set the introduction of PIP back months. At best it could even result in a fairer set of rules for the mobility component.

    But the campaigners desperately need claimants who fit very tightly defined criteria to come forward to be the ones who actually challenge the DWP. In order to bring the case, assisted by Leigh Day solicitors and barristers from Doughty Street Chambers, they need claimants:

    Who are eligible for legal aid – check your eligibility here (external site)

    Who currently have a DLA award including Higher Rate Mobility component

    Whose DLA award is NOT due to expire until after October 2013

    Who, on re-assessment under PIP, whenever that occurs, are at risk of losing out on the enhanced mobility component of PIP because they can walk over 20 metres or so but cannot walk up to 50 metres.

    Who do NOT have any difficulty planning or following a journey (eg due to mental health, cognitive or sensory impairment).

    There are other criteria which are desirable rather than essential, which you can read about on the blog (external site) of highly respected and experienced ‘We Are Spartacus’ campaigner Jane Young.

    If you think you fit the criteria and are willing to take part, please contact Jane via her contact form as soon as possible, time is very short.

    MORE NEGATIVE PUBLICITY FOR DRUK

    Whilst unfunded claimants launch legal battles like the ones above, the rather better funded charity which says it is the voice of sick and disabled claimants is caught up in yet more controversy.

    Disability Rights UK (DRUK), formed little over a year ago from three financially struggling charities, has already come in for criticism (members only) for its role in helping Capita win a contract to assess PIP claimants and for convening the new Disability Action Alliance (DAA).

    Its chief executive, Liz Sayce, also wrote a report recommending ending government support for Remploy factories - som

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