Thousands of disabled people set to lose their Motability vehicles

The government’s current draft proposals for Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the proposed replacement for Disability Living Allowance (DLA), are likely to lead to thousands of disabled people with significant mobility difficulties having their cars repossessed, leaving them unable to go out.

I have now had a chance to read most of the DWP’s draft document ‘PIP: Assessment Thresholds and Consultation’, published on 16 January 2012 (only one day before the Lords vote on DLA/PIP!), which should be read in conjunction with ‘PIP: Second Draft of Assessment Criteria’ published in November 2011. These documents have been published to pave the way for implementation of the Welfare Reform Bill.

Under the draft criteria (published Nov 2011, pages 61-62), for the higher scoring descriptors under Activity 11, Moving Around, the descriptors are as follows:

Activity 11 – (higher scoring descriptors only)
C Can move up to 50 metres unaided but no further. For example: identifies individuals who can move up to 50 metres unaided but then require a wheelchair for anything further. 8
D Cannot move up to 50 metres without using an aid or appliance, other than a wheelchair or a motorised device. For example: identifies individuals who can use an aid or appliance to move up to 50 metres but then require a wheelchair for anything further. 10
E Cannot move up to 50 metres without using a wheelchair propelled by the individual. 12
F Cannot move up to 50 metres without using a wheelchair propelled by another person or a motorised device. 15
G Cannot either –i. move around at all; or ii. transfer unaided from one seated position to another adjacent seated position. 15

The document published on 16 January proposes scoring thresholds for the different PIP mobility rates as follows (page 5):

Mobility component
Standard rate: 8 points
Enhanced rate: 12 points

(from activities 10-11. Note: Activity 10 is not relevant to people with physical conditions/impairments)

Therefore, meeting descriptor C or descriptor D for Activity 11 does not result in an award of the enhanced mobility rate of PIP, which is presumably necessary to access the Motability scheme, currently open to those receiving the higher rate mobility component of DLA.

Consider case studies 6 and 7 in the thresholds document published on 16 January:

Case study 6: (italics indicate quotes from dwp document, page 21)

Richard is 62 and worked as a miner for 30 years. He has very restricted movement of his shoulder following an injury to his right arm when working in the mine; since leaving the job he has developed osteoarthritis in both knees and in his right shoulder and right elbow. He also has Duypytren’s contracture in both hands, which affects his ability to grip. He can walk for short distances but the pain in his knees stops him after about 20-30 steps – he is currently on the waiting list for two knee replacements. He cannot use sticks because of his hand problems and has difficulty climbing stairs.

Richard is then given 8 points under descriptor 11C, despite having to stop walking after 20-30 paces due to the pain in his knees. He would therefore only get the standard mobility rate and presumably unable to use the Motability scheme, which someone in his situation is quite likely to be using currently.

Case study 7: (italics indicate quotes from dwp document, page 22)

Andy is 50 and was injured at work two years ago when a lorry reversed into his car. His left leg was crushed and had to be amputated above the knee and his right leg was also injured. He is back in his previous job doing administrative work; however, he is unable to stand for long periods and uses a stick to walk. He does not require support with daily living activities, but he needs to sit down when in the kitchen and when showering as he finds it tiring and difficult to stand. The scar on his left stump has not healed very well so he has difficulties with his prosthesis and his right leg is weak. He finds it very tiring if he walks more than 40-50m so he often uses a wheelchair if he is going outdoors.

Andy is then given 10 points under descriptor 11D, despite using a wheelchair when he is outdoors. He would therefore only get the standard mobility rate and presumably unable to use the Motability scheme, which an amputee would be very likely to use. In fact, I am quite shocked that he wouldn’t qualify for the enhanced mobility rate given the nature of his impairment!

Links to relevant documents:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/pip-assessment-thresholds-and-consultation.pdf

Summary of my concerns

  • Claimants with very restricted ability to walk will fail to score highly enough to be eligible for the Motability scheme.
  • Many thousands of existing Motability scheme users will have their vehicles repossessed; under current Motability rules they can’t buy them, even if they have the resources (which most don’t).
  • Under current rules Motability customers cannot keep their cars whilst awaiting the outcome of an appeal against their PIP award.
  • Many families, with very limited income and resources and often complex family problems, will lose their only vehicle, even if the Motability customer’s mobility difficulties remain the same.
  • The viability of Motability as an organisation could be affected due to the much reduced number of users whose contributions go into the ‘pot’.
  • There could be a highly detrimental effect on the UK car industry, given that Motability is the largest fleet operator in Europe.
This will be a ‘car crash’ (excuse the pun!) if the PIP criteria and thresholds are not changed to something more realistic! We must get the government to listen!!

87 thoughts on “Thousands of disabled people set to lose their Motability vehicles

  1. We HAVE to get this changed by intense lobbying during the Consultation. With so much being achieved already this week, the momentum must continue. No doubt we’re looking at contributing to the funding of another excellent research document in order to prove the case

  2. This is dreadful.It will mean a lot of people losing their only form of transport.It will result in a lot of housebound depressed people putting a further burden on the NHS.

  3. This so called goverment is the worst in living memory.They know full well Disabled people are the most hard up of ANY benefit claimant.To lose their car is taking away any meens of moving around the country or even going shopping will be a no no .How is this acceptable in society these days.It has been proved beyond doubt fraud is below 0.5% the lowest of all benefits and this new system is going to cost more to implement and run via camerons buddys runing it than can be saved.

  4. Pingback: Are thousands of #disabled people set to lose their Motability vehicles? #mhuk #WRB | Dawn Willis sharing the News & Views of the Mentally Wealthy

  5. I was pretty much housebound without my Motability car – guess i will be again going forward, thank you Mr Cameron for destroying what little “life” i have left!

  6. And it’s not just people with motability cars. I found it was cheaper for me to take out a loan to buy a second-hand car rather than go thru Motability . so my mobility componnet is being used to pay off the loan. if it stops – i have a loan i can’t pay off and what happens then? will my car be taken by the loan company? i’m scared.

    • Yup, we’re all scared ****less! So angry that the govt is scaring so many people. The only silver lining I suppose is that if enough people are scared enough to make a noise, someone might listen and DO something!! That’s why I’m publicising this aspect and others are publicising other aspects… We ALL need to contact our MP’s, at the very least.

      • There is a consultation on this going on NOW. Everyone needs to respond to this, and explain how these plan will affect severely disabled people. As well as informing our own MPs.

      • There is a website set up to help campaigners give their input and for the small team working on the Spartacus response to draft and collate comments. See wearespartacus.org.uk We have only been working on this for a few days so have only just got to the stage of attempting to put the government’s documents into plain English to enable people to understand and respond. Email me through the site if you want any further information, and thank you so much for your comment.

    • It depends if your loan was for any purpose or if it is HP. You will be able to identify this by looking at your documents. If there are boxes that state something along the lines of what percentage of loan you have paid…. Sorry will have to try and remember rest; then it is likely to be an H.P agreement. This in fact means that if you have paid a certain percentage of the car loan, you can hand the car back without any further payments or affecting your credit rating. If it is purely a loan, you can keep your car but are still liable for loan relaunched. If this is the case and worst scenario you lose mobility, phone company with a income and expenditure plan worked out and propose smaller payments until situation changes such as appeal. If you’re lucky they may modify loan to a payment, can be quite small in some cases, that you can afford. Modifying agreement does incur more interest though as it’s really like taking out new loan for remanding amount but worth it if you can do it to keep your car. Hope this helps. CAB can help further with more detailed info and how to do income and expenditure forms as they include everything within reason like papers or magazines, clothes etc whereas CCS does not.

      • Most people using Motability use the leasing scheme, and the rules are that if your higher rate mobility component is stopped they collect the car back. Buying on higher purchase would, of course, be different. You probably know more about that than I do :)

  7. It isn’t just cars.
    Some people use motability to buy electric wheelchairs.
    I personally used my mobility payment to buy my electric wheelchair as I couldn’t self propel at a time when I was in a similar situation to case study 7. I could still walk a bit with a walking stick and only used my wheelchair outdoors. Without it I was housebound. I was only able to continue my studies and get my job thanks to my electric wheelchair, bought with my high rate mobility money. I would NOT have had enough to buy it with the lower rate.
    See here for a full story: http://loopys-rollingwiththepunches.blogspot.com/2012/01/dla-gave-me-my-wheelchair-my-phd-and-my.html

    I urge everyone to take part in the government consultation currently going on and tell them exactly how bad their criteria are.
    http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/pip-assessment-thresholds-and-consultation.pdf

    I know as well as anyone that there is no guarantee they will listen, but we have to try. This is just one of our first steps.

    • Good point. The issue of wheelchairs is also completely relevant, although there won’t be nearly as many wheelchair/scooter customers as car customers. Only Motability has the statistics.

      • Even if it isn’t directly through motability, many people have to use their high rate mobility to buy a scooter or an electric wheelchair.

        Many save up over a period of time to do this and it is only possible by dint of cutting down on travel for a while, essentially becoming housebound for a time in order to save up enough to get your wheelchair.

        The lower rate simply isn’t sufficient to do this, especially when you then take into account insurance, upkeep and on top of that taxis etc to then get around.

        I’m not even going to start about the potential loss of blue badges. My blood pressure is rising. ;)

        In summary people who would today be reliant on DLA to fund outdoor wheelchairs or scooters, be it through motability or through savings, will in future be rendered totally housebound unless they are lucky enough to access charities or family funds.

  8. Motability have already started making changes in advance of this – from last Autumn they put a limit on advance payments for cars of £2000 – which effectively rules out anyone from getting an automatic estate car that can fit a family and a wheelchair.

    I’m assuming this is because they are expecting a lot of people to lose their current eligibility and don’t want to end up with a lot of expensive cars to sell off (after taking them away from people with 7 days notice). Also it’s about cutting down on admin costs ready for when their funding gets cut.

    The DWP figures had a reduction of 150,000 removed from the Higher Rate mobility component.

    Even though under PIP we personally are likely to still be eligible for motability the changes that the charity are having to make to stay functional with the cut in funding is going to make it no use to us.

    • One of the problems is that Motability is heavily sat on by the government. The revelations of ‘abuse’ were behind a lot of the rule tightening, but the new rules make things ridiculously hard for users. Like, we can only have friends who live within 5 miles if we need them to drive us?! I extracted a written commitment from them that I can use drivers living more than 5 miles away. I personally stand to lose an internal WAV, for which the downpayment was made from the government’s specialist vehicle fund and for which I waited 10 months, because I can walk a bit. Barmy if you ask me!

  9. Why is there no mention of people with severe learning difficulties etc ? My son has low functioning autism, aged 10 he has no awareness of danger and will often run into the road / dive under cars. We use his ( low rate ) mobility to fund the many taxis we use, ideally we’d drive but he needs 1 to 1 along with his autistic sister, as they can both be violent we decided against it for safety issues.

    What happens to the likes of us ?

    • Hi Julie, I guess we all tend to focus on the issues that affect us most personally. As I could lose a very expensive, individually tailored, grant funded wheelchair accessible vehicle, I’m personally very conscious of the issue of Motability vehicles, as without Motability I wouldn’t be able to have a suitable vehicle.

      The government says it wants the new benefit to help people with learning difficulties more, but as I’m not an expert in the field I really don’t know the extent to which the proposed criteria etc will, or won’t, achieve that. Don’t forget the government isn’t planning to replace DLA with PIP for children until after they’ve done so for working age adults, so you have a bit more of a breathing space than we do.

      The documents I give links to in my post apply to all DLA claimants of working age, and you may want to look to see how your son might be affected when he’s older, although lots could change before it’s relevant. I hope that’s of some help, but the National Autistic Society and other relevant charities will have a better understanding of the probable outcomes for people with learning difficulties.

    • At least for now you shouldn’t be affected – the PIP changes only apply to people aged 16-65.

      For now :o(

  10. I cannot believe i could lose my car, without it I won’t be able to go to hydrotherapy pool or to see friends etc, I won’t have a life, my family help me out a lot now, so it would be even more difficult for them, cos they will have to do a lot more, I thought my car was to help me be more idependent.

  11. Totally agree with your analysis. The fact the Government has shifted the emphasis away from ‘mobility’ onto ‘moving around’ narrows the meaning. I know Lord Freud was a merchant banker, however, the economic sense behind this savage move is totally missing. The loss of my mobility – the Motability car – means my prospect of employment is seriously reduced, my spending power withdrawn and the likelihood of ill health, to me and my family members, increased. These descriptors are void of any social or environment context – we are seeing disabled people turned into “useless cripples” (sic) by a ruthless and extremist regime.

  12. I have a 23 year old son who currently gets higher rate mobility which pays for taxi’s to go to hospital appointments and visit family this is becuse of his learing disability (mind of a 5yr old) Autism so it proves difficult on buses a it is to much for him to deal wth and he alsohas mea health issues soI’m dreading the new PIP. I really think it should be RIP bcause the government is targeting the disabled and the vunerable how many people have already lost thei benefits and committed suicide because of it so no doubt thre will be plenty more in thefuture. Yes there are those who know to play the system and shouldn’t be on it but just remember who the biggest fraudsters are he goverment and their banker friends

  13. One thing that bothers me about these criteria is that they seem to have removed all concerns regarding pain, walking speed and long term damage. Many people are, for example, technically capable of walking longer distances but, in doing so, would risk causing severe injury and perhaps doing themselves permanent damage. Technically I could walk along the street unaided but with each step the chances of me falling and smashing my head open (again) would increase considerably.

    So what does ‘can’ mean? I mean, I _could_ jump out of the window of my flat. There’s nothing physically stopping me. But I doubt even ATOS would consider it a good idea.

    • They say they’re planning to take pain and fatigue into account, and they also say you have to be able to walk ‘safely’ if you are to be deemed to be able to walk, and I would not have thought that risking serious injury would be classed as ‘safely’! But I am sceptical about the extent to which they will take pain and fatigue into account when you’re assessed by a healthcare professional employed by a private company!!

  14. Why Why is this happening its like going back to the dark ages any one who has an or is classed as disabled have a right to live as best as they can not being able to get about as they wish is taking away their human rights take it to the European Courts could they stop them I doubt it.

  15. Could someone start a petition and get it sent to David Cameron & co. Due to it being an infringing your basic human rights. Speak to your local CAB or Welfare rights officer before you do anything and get correct facts. I wish you all the luck.

    • Good idea about petition but I think we need to focus on Pat Onions’ petition, which is now past 23,000 signatures. We need 100,000 signatures to make a difference. In relation to facts, no-one has anything more than the DWP draft documents I’ve used in my analysis, so I’m not sure why the CAB or a Welfare Rights officer would know anything more, as they can only get information from the DWP. The problem is, they haven’t thought this through and we may have to divert our argument to pointing out the effects on the UK car industry as, sadly, they probably value industry more highly than our well-being :(

      I have Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson on the case and she’s really good at media etc, as well as being in the House of Lords, so I think we need to work hard on our response to the DWP document published on Monday and carry on raising awareness in whatever way we can.

  16. The original Motability changes, its true, were a blanket ban on any AP over £2,000. I wrote to my MP and Lord Sterling obver this and they did come back to agree that this was too restrictive on automatic and estate requiring users, so if you now look on the car search you will see that there are cars over £2,000 AP showing.
    However, as a sufferer of Charcot foot, I cannot walk far, but could come into the 8-10 point only margin. These chnages are just purely to reduce costs regardless of the harm they do.
    Don’t expect any support from Labour however, they would have done the same

  17. i am dreading it if i loose my DLA i use my allowance for a car in which i put my mobility scooter in the boot it has a large boot and just fits in,i woulnt be able to buy another car as my husband is on pension credit,i can use my scooter outside and around my local area but i would not be able to go anywhere long distant,this new pip is causing a lot of people so much stress its bad enough being in pain and not able to walk without worring if we are going to loose our DLA, does anyone know where we stand on care allowance i receive top rate as i need help through the night and day also.

    • The two documents to which I link in my post cover both the daily living component (which was the care component under DLA) and the mobility component. You have to read both documents to make sense of it, but it’s not easy at all. I decided to focus this particular blog post on the mobility component and on the effect on many with Motability cars, but there are equal, if not greater, concerns about the daily living component. The real problem is that the government is trying to boil down people’s complex and individual impairments and difficulties into simplistic criteria which is never going to work because humans are complex!!

  18. I receive higher rate Mobility component and use it to get a Motability car. I have a right hemiplegia, dysplasia in my right hip and arthritis in both hips and two years ago sustained spinal injuries when my then car was rear ended whilst I was stationary on a hill by an 18 year old male driving without due care and attention. Like everyone else who has commented I rely totally on my car Im single and have no close relatives bar my elderly mother who doesn’t drive. Without my car I could never have completed my first degree and then had a career lecturing in the FE sector and I am presently completing part time a degree in history and have post graduate potential which is the only route for me to return to employment. I walk with a crutch and cannot use a bus. On my last bus journey between Waterloo and Westminster Abbey no one offered me a seat and I was forced to hold onto the rail with my strong arm and use my crutch as a stabiliser which annoyed the other standing passengers. Its not that we have a public transport infra structure that is geared to accommodating people with disabilities. We dont’ Im not on a bus route and even if I was could not stand at a bus stop for even a short length of time waiting for a bus particularly not in the dead of winter. I agree that we all need to campaign to pressurise the Govt into changing the new criteria for mobility under PIP. And let us not forget that the prime minister who is a millionaire claimed DLA for his disabled son and gave us false hope that he would help us and look after us. I am so angry about this it is only because I am a well mannered person that I am not going to express my anger in a rude way but we must remember that David Cameron who wants to take away our independent and quality of life in order to save a few measly pounds claimed DLA.

  19. The way I see it the research funding set up by Sue Marsh needs to go further and there needs to be an onslaught for funding so that this can be resolved in the high court, that is the only way to get justice for the many thousands of disabled citizens who are being so unfairly treated.

    It is an infringement of all disability rights in the UN and EU.

    This Government says the country is skint and in debt but it is ok to invest in a high speed rail link and no doubt a new London airport and not to mention the white elephant that the Olympic games are turning into with massive funds being thrown at it, but the most vulnerable of society have to suffer.

    Oh but the country need a high speed rail link so Cameron and his city chums can get to work, hell when is the country going to get real we are turning into the laughing stock of the world and this country WILL BE judged on how it treats the socially excluded.

    Time to get this in court and seek a judicial review.

    Regards

    • Problem is, I don’t know if we have a legal case in the English courts! And we would have to find someone eligible for legal aid to be the applicant, although that shouldn’t be difficult because lots of disabled people are pretty poor! If I get time I will try to contact a human rights solicitor I know to get an informal opinion :)

      • Jane,

        Thank You, yes you are right we really need to get legal opinion on this going forward so that all areas are covered because with the Lords defeat this week it has made the commons case stronger and Cameron will now go all out to being in these damm changes.

      • I think I have human rights to my DLA, my Husband stopped working in 1993 because they said I would get DLA for life.He would never have stopped work if we had known this would happen.What happened to life.He has saved the government thousands and this is how they repay him.

  20. I assumed this would happen- when I applied for DLA for the 1st time almost 3 years ago I was told that I didnt qualify for high rate mobility cos i wasn’t a wheelchair user and could still technically walk with crutches. They didnt give a toss about the pain, dizzyness, faints, fatigue, the time it took to walk a few meters etc. :^/ just the fact that i could still put one foot in front of the other and walk.

    I now use a chair and been classed as ‘virtually unable to walk’ so I should qualify when i renew in july…. if i dont i’ll be appealing!

    so even back then this mindset was being spread among the DWP. and it’s stupid- i can technically get around easier now i have the chair but it means i qualify for more help with mobility needs, could have made more use of that when i was struggling to get around on my crutches!

    I’ve read the whole document and theres also nothing about fainting and dizzyness while walking, many people with one of my conditions get so dizzy that they faint when they’ve been standing for only a few mins….. so they need to hire chairs, using their mobility payments. which will now more than likely end. and my pals with autism etc are starting to panic about this too as there’s nothing about their mobility needs in the document.

    the whole thing is so stupid! and will result in many disabled people becoming housebound. and as the government is also determined to kick us totally off out of work benefits within one year, we’re gonna have to go out and get jobs to stop us starving to death, no matter the cost to our health. hard to look or go for work when you’re housebound cos the government have taken your mobility payments away. seems like we’re going back to victorian times when it didnt matter if you were sick or not- no work means no food.

    i can see this all ending very badly.. :^(

    Fi

  21. As far as I know, when DLA was introduced by the GOVERNMENT the same Government introduced the Motability scheme as a government-backed charity. Have I got my facts right? If so, the government have put themselves in the position of not only killing off the DLA Goose but also the Motability Golden Egg!
    I found that Motability only offered their service on a very limited range of powered wheelchairs and their charges were higher than private firms who offered a much wider range of wheelchairs.
    So, I purchased my Pride Quantum 6000 powered wheelchair from a local supplier and the cost of maintaining it and its eventual replacement is paid for out of my DLA higher mobility rate.
    Without DLA I cannot maintain it and purchase a replacement when the present one wears out.
    What fences will I have to climb over in the new PIP to remain mobile?

    • Well, the straight answer to your question is that you’ve got to amass at least 12 points in the mobility activities, which, as illustrated in the case studies, is very difficult if you’re able to walk a little. That’s why it’s so essential to get the draft proposals changed so they’re more realistic! Otherwise the consequences for thousands of disabled people, for Motability and for the UK car industry will be catastrophic!!

      • However, no decision has been made yet whether only the 12 points plus will get access to motability, or both sections. Lets also not forget that only 30% of those eligable currently to the hRMC actually use it to get a car/wheelchair from Motability.
        Lets be totally honest with ourselves shall we? the DLA and incapacity benefit have been abused by many and we all know people who have abused the system, yet how many of us have done something about it?
        A complete review of the system has been needed, however it should be by need, not these restrictive unworkable catergories

      • You make some good points. However, firstly, I acknowledge in the post that it is only PRESUMED that the enhanced rate of the mobility component of PIP is needed to access Motability. Secondly, one of the governors of Motability has said to me that he can see why I’m concerned. And thirdly, nowhere in the article do I say that all recipients of the higher rate mobility component of DLA currently use it to access the Motability scheme. What I am saying, though, is that it is a cliff-edge situation for the many thousands who do access the scheme, are dependent on their cars and could suddenly have them taken away even before they’ve been able to appeal a decision they consider to be incorrect.

        I know there is some abuse of the system but unlike you I don’t personally know anyone who is abusing it. What I do know is a family in which the husband is disabled but may struggle to qualify for the enhanced mobility component of PIP, and two of their three sons are autistic, who are really struggling and would not be able to cope if their car was suddenly repossessed. I’m sure there are many other families similarly struggling. It’s a very difficult area and we must help the government to see that under the current draft criteria many people who should qualify for the enhanced mobility component will not do so due to the ridiculously narrow descriptors.

  22. I am completely shocked at how the points system is structured on the new PIP.
    I have spina bifida and an artifical leg yet because I get around on crutches I will only qualify for the lower rate mobility part.
    How can people like myself with this amount of physical disablility not continue to get the higher level. Getting around on crutches is not easy. Its tiring, wet and uneven ground is a nightmare and I could be easily knocked over. In some ways being in a wheelchair would be easier for me yet I feel I am going to be penalised for working hard to stay mobile with crutches.
    Also there statements are too simple. It doesn’t ask about pain or how long you can stand.

    I currently get the high rate mobility/DLA which I use for a motability car and this gives me my independence. It is no exaggeration to say that without it I will be virtually housebound. Only able to get out when someone can take me and this will inturn effect my children – how will they get to school?

    It makes me so angry that the government feels the need to scrap this benefit when the fraud level is only 0.5%. They could of just made changes to DLA, instead of spending over £600 million on a completely new benefit. It is obviously just to make cuts.

  23. When my Husband had to stop work to look after me in 1993we were told the DLA was for life. This gave us peace of mind. He has stopped work, saved the government thousands over the years and now may find that at 60 he has to find work and leave me to fend for myself.It will mean I become housebound and need a carer to be paid to come in and help me.What sense is there in that.Do we not have human rights that they should keep their promises of life is life?

  24. It would save millions if those people who get the higher rate of DLA for care but do not have anyone to care for them, were taken off. You either need help or you do not.I cannot see how you can claim for care and not have it.

    • How about if you can’t chop/prepare vegetables/food and so use the DLA care component to pay for prepared veg/healthy ready meals?

      Or if you need help in and out of bed and use the money to pay for adaptions that allow you to manage safely by yourself?

      Or you can’t do your own shopping and so pay for delivery?

      Or can’t clean and so pay for a cleaner? Or likewise a laundry service?

      There are lots of things you can buy as an alternative to employing a carer that fulfil some of the work that a carer would do – but they all cost more money than if you were able to do them yourself. That’s the entire point of DLA – it covers the additional expense that is a result of a disability – whether that’s mobility component (needing taxis/to drive distances that others would walk/wheelchair costs) or care component (the costs attached to not being able to care for yourself the way an able bodied person can).

    • Oh really? I have no night carers despite being on HRC.

      I currently manage my night care through an alarm system (paid by my DLA), tons of extra bedding, spare beds and a few other disability devices (which need buying and/or replacing). My morning carers stay on approx 15 mins extra to sort everything out when they come on duty.

      If I lose HRC the alternative will be for social services to provide a sleep in carer every single night as opposed to the current 15 mins 6 days per week (total £15) plus approx £20 per week DLA (difference between MRC and HRC).

      So you have a £35 per week system vs a £50 per night system.

      It is my experience that people not receiving care are generally resourceful and saving the government money rather than the reverse.

  25. I really cannot see this ending well. I presently recieve higher level DLA which I have used for Motability for many years. I do work and earn a decent wage to be honest but without the Motability option, my life would be ruined. I CAN walk further than 50 yards but spend my whole day fighting the pain and making adjustments because I am a fighter and that is how I want to do it. I know I am disabled but I will NOT let it run my life and will push the boundaries. However, the potental loss of income would mean that I would have no transport and have to give up my job as I cannot use public transport on a daily basis, especially as hardly anyone respects the disabled seating on buses and trains.

    So I end up jobless and housebound and my condition will deteriorate and shorten my life. To make matters worse, I am approaching my “golden years” and will not improve health-wise. Add to that the destruction of my pension, perhaps I should look at this as a favour to speed my death.

    If it affects me in this way, God help those that work for less.

    How can this even be considered?

  26. These are all arguments that simply MUST make it into the consultation of PIP as it’s a huge concern and a big worry. The assumption that everywhere has perfectly accessible public transportation needs to be challenged. We no longer live in little villages where we only need to travel about 5 miles to get what is required. It’s vital that we point this out time and time again.

  27. Very ill and Disabled people cannot be assessed on a point system, especially one as narrow as this, there are just too many factors relating to personal mobility. What about people suffering severe mental health problems, who cannot travel by Public transport and need a carer with them and a motability car. This will entrench thousands of severely disabled people into their homes, leading to further complications in their health, leading to hospitalization and the need for even more care. And what exactly is the point in having 10 points, when it is the same as having 8? It is an insult to degrade ill and disabled people with this type of point test. If someone can’t walk twenty metres because of heart problems or elevated and dangerous blood pressure, how can they prove it on this system?

    It is also designed to make you feel like you are not disabled, just because you are not in a wheelchair ( no offence wheelies ) and even if you are in a wheelchair, you can’t push yourself more than 50 metres or you lose the high rate? What kind of inhumanity is that?

    What are we going to do?

    • I have 2 replies to this.
      a) As I have indicated earlier, wheelchair users are also going to lose higher rate mobility if they can walk just a tiny bit even with “an aid or appliance”. Those that can’t push themselves more than 50m will retain it. Differentiating between the two is preposterous and I hate this “hierachy” which is being imposed.

      b) I think it is this “hierachy” you are picking up on. Some are being made to feel “less disabled” than others. This though was always the government’s plan as soon as it said it wanted funds to go to those who needed it most. Its definition of “need” was always a medical one, of those who are “most disabled”. However this does not work out in practise.

      I have a progressive illness, so unlike a lot of people have had experience of being someone with “mild” mobility problems, someone struggling hard to get around with a walking stick, someone mixing up walking with wheelchair use, and today am an electric wheelchair user.

      I personally had MORE trouble getting around in the earlier stages than I do today as a wheelchair user. The blue badge was just as vital. Buses were just as inaccessible even if it was for different reasons. But try explaining that to the general public, or, more importantly, the government.

      • It’s not me differentiating, as far as I am concerned all disabilities are equal, especially to the person who is suffering it. It’s the governments draft version of PIP that is dividing us. I have always recognized that. No one has a monopoly on pain, or disability, we are all equal.

        But in one years time when people become familiar and more frightened of that divisive point system, it could prove disastrous for us all, just what the government want.

      • I didn’t mean *you* were differentiating and I sincerely apologise if it came across that way. I, like you, meant that it is the daft criteria in the PIP proposals which are doing so. I also agree that we need to unite to denounce this rather than squabble amongst ourselves over who should get more points.

      • i have cerebral palsy,a am deaf speech imapired and can only manage to walk a few steps unaided As i am aging so the onset of premature osteo arthrtis rears its head and i suffer pain and severe discomfort. I became eligible for indefinite HRCMA DLA when they phased the Invalid car out I also get the MRC and have a permanent resident carer The goverment say all genuine disabled claimants have no need to worry but the more i read, the more i do worry as it seems as if everybody who has a genuine disability is to be reviewed despite having all the date on their computers. My question is that how can people like me who have lifelong disabilities suddenly not be disabled enough to qualify for benefits? It just does not male sense

  28. In all honesty though, no matter how many times I read that point system, it is obvious that no one will be getting the higher rate unless they are in a wheelchair, can’t walk, and cant push themselves, or are completely bed bound. That is how black and white it is.

    it’s disgusting.

    • You used the words ‘bed bound’ so it might interest you to know that the government has this angle covered too. If you are deemed too disabled to benefit from the mobility component you won’t get it !!

  29. How many of you have written/Emailed your MP?
    Whilst blogs and forums are great for venting and also talking to like moimded people, only thing that would m,ake any ripple is having a go at those who will vote for this change.
    You have to do this for yourself, this is something that you cannot expect someone else to take up on your behalf, else nothing will happen.
    Contact your MP NOW!

    • Why is it that people assume that anyone commenting/venting on blogs such as these haven’t already done a lot elsewhere? The two are not mutually exclusive and to assume so is both insulting and patronising.

      • Well said, Spoonydoc! Also, the comments made here and at http://wearespartacus.org.uk/discuss-pip will be very valuable to the Spartacus campaign as we seek to collate ideas for a group response to the consultation, as well as to explain to people the implications of the proposals so they can make their own individual responses and also contact their MP’s.

        Everyone reading and posting at this website needs to also contact their MP explaining their fears for how these proposals are likely to affect them, their family or friends. That goes without saying but no harm in repeating it to make sure everyone reads it!

    • My MP replied to my email with a letter, on HoC headed paper, in a HoC envelope, sent first class. He dismissed the spartacus report and stated because so many people on DLA are granted indefinite awards it was wasting government money.

      *sigh* If only he didn’t have such a large majority in favour of the conservatives he might give a crap about his constituents.

  30. I dont know why there are so fixated on 50m, they are saying low mobility will be if you can walk 50 with aids or not and then can do no more. What if you can walk 100m with say sticks but then you need rest/wheelchair. You will not even qualify for a low payment? If you live a mile from your local shop/doctors that you cant get to you, you get nothing.

    If you have a mobility car you can drive to a large supermarket park in a blue badge space then walk to customer services and use a chair or scooter for your shop which could well be up to 50m. But without DLA you will not havea the car or the badge to do it!

    I wonder what all the GPs will do when everyone who has problems has to start asking for home visits because they can no longer afford a taxi or scooter to get them there, ditto hospital transport.

    • 50 metres is the distance specified in DLA although the conditions are not as harsh. It’s also the distance specified in the work capability assessment for ESA with anyone able to use a manual wheelchair for this distance being found capable of work, assuming no other difficulties. I can see how someone with no other limitations could be expected to work if they can mobilise 50 metres in a wheelchair, but to apply it to an allowance that’s meant to help with walking impairments is stupid and cruel.

  31. I look set to lose HRM & therefore my Motability car, one which I chose as it had both an automatic gearbox & cruise control to make driving easier for me and with a boot big enough to take my mobility scooter to enable me to get out to the shops. I walk with a stick but walking more that 5-10 metres causes severe pain & massive discomfort so I need to use the mobility scooter to get out and about to do “normal” things with family and friends and even “walk” the dog (although he prefers to sit on my knee). Although I have limited mobility I am fortunate enough not need a wheelchair which means, under the current draft descriptors, I would be lucky to get the standard rate and therefore lose the Motability car. In losing that, which is the only way we could afford to run a car, I will lose my independence and being able to get out and about doing day to day activities as well as take my family on days out and on holiday.

    • Fibromitesunite. Would a mobility scooter not qualify you for the higher rate if you cannot use a manual wheelchair ?

      • The descriptors don’t even mention mobility scooters!! The more you look at this stuff, the worse it seems!! They need to do some serious redrafting, but doubt they will :(

  32. Im scared im a single mom with a 10yr old Autistic child who has a mobility car. It is due to be reviewed next year and if i lose it i lose my job, ability to take son on holiday to all his clubs. I have read further up changes only affect aged 16-65 but I know someone with a 6yr old that has lost mobility. Where do i stand

    • These changes are only for people of working age. Your son will stay on DLA for the time being so don’t worry just yet !! Don’t judge your own son’s entitlement by someone else losing their own benefit. Each case is different and since your son already has DLA in payment, there would have to have been an improvement in your son’s condition for even the rate of benefit in payment to change, let alone for you to lose it altogether. It sounds as though you have enough to worry about with your little one,without all this as well.

      • Not sure who’s comment you’re replying to, Pam? I agree, but if this government remains in power after the election, I’m sure children growing up into adults will have to be assessed for PIP when they reach the right age. It’s just that the government is bringing PIP in first for working age adults.

  33. I receive Higher Rate Mobility and have just had it renewed for an indefinate period so was planning on getting a Motability car as my 15 year old car is on it’s last legs. Now I am really worried as to what to do as I have no other means of paying for a car and without one I would really struggle. I have written to my MP. There must be so many people worried out their minds by this uncaring government.

  34. I have severe M.E, osteoarthritis of the spine, sciatica, IBS,IC, incontinence, migraines and depression due to being ill. I can only walk a few metres around the house, only ground floor where my bed is now in my kitchen/living/dining area with crutches but this still causes extreme pain and fatigue. I have to use a wheelchair, pushed by someone else on the very rare occasion I go outside. I have been ‘lucky’ in that after the first application of seamingly endless interviews and medical that I have been awarded both HR care and mobility and support group ESA twice now. Yet reading these stories I cannot understand how they can justify that I am more disabled than someone for example that has had their legs amputated etc and I feel extremely guilty that this has become the case. Not that my illness and degree of disability is not genuine, oh my god I really wish it wasn’t; but the whole system just seems absurd. I do not use motability as it would be pointless for the amount of times I can bear or dare to try and go out for a little while and I do not get carers because it was going to be too expensive. Instead I rely on family to remember to feed me before they go out in the morning, refill the drinks machines and fridge next to my bed and wait for their return regardless of what state I’m in.
    One trying to be positive note though is, DLA was not fit for purpose either and thankfully and massively due to the Benefits and Works website I made my disability fit the form rather than the other way around. I wrote on every blank price of paper ALL over the form giving examples and likely outputs if I tried to do something. The B & W team work tirelessly to access all the DWP and ATOS guidelines and painstakingly go through it bit by bit to help everyone get what they deserve and I am sure they will continue to do so with PIP ( they have some info already and comparison test between DLA and PIP).
    Regardless of all that, the fight is not over yet and we all must stay positive to try and get the changes needed to make PIP fit for purpose and fair for all!
    Chin up everyone, don’t let them get you down, keep your fighting spirit and don’t let them win xxx

    • I agree that it seems absurd that the poor (fictitious) man with the amputated leg is deemed less disabled than someone with your condition! The criteria for PIP don’t seem too bad for mobility but the case studies are bizarre! Glad you’ve had the support you needed for your claims; Benefits and Work are excellent :)

      • How can you say the mobility criteria for PIP don’t seem too bad. Under PIP, if the current criteria or points aren’t changed, only people permanently in wheelchairs are going to get the high rate for mobility and that is rediculous.

        How can people who can only get around using crutches, sticks, artificial limbs, etc. be deemed not to have a severe enough physical disability to carry on getting the higher rate. From the posts I have read on here and other sites many of these will become housebound when they lose their HRM as this extra money gives them the ability to be independent ( many using motability) and thats excactly the purpose of DLA.

        I think this group of people is going to be one of the biggest losers when DLA becomes PIP and I am getting increasingly frustrated that this point does not seem to be getting across whenever I hear anything in the media about the DLA changes.

      • Yes, I agree, I think it’s going to be a disaster if we can’t get the criteria changed to something more realistic. It’s all very worrying

  35. Hi everyone – I’m a bit confused about all the talk of the most severely disabled losing their entitlement to higher rate PIP by dint of being able to walk a few paces. It’s my understanding that anyone who cannot move more than 50 metres using a wheelchair, or other aids and appliances plus a wheelchair, WILL get the higher rate and would not lose entitlement to motability. This seems to be borne out by the examples of PIP case studies where there are several examples of people who cannot walk more than a few metres and who use wheelchairs pushed by an attendant to be able to cover the distance. Similarly anyone who uses a self propelled wheelchair – either on it’s own or in combination with other appliances, who has a condition affecting their ability to wheel themselves more than 50 metres, would also qualify for the higher rate. Have I got this wrong ? I have penned an email to my MP trying to verify this and asking why the thresholds have been set so low and the descriptors so narrowly. All of this assumes that there is no uneven ground, no kerbs and no hills – similarly the cooking test assumes that all utensils and ingredients are available at waist height. Who puts them there and why is this not classed as assistance ? It’s totally unrealistic.

    • Hi Pam, the problem with the case studies is that they seem to undermine the criteria as drafted. For example, in case study 6, the man with arthritis, it says he can’t move more than 20-30 steps but then says he would only meet descriptor C and get 8 points, ie the standard rate of the mobility component of PIP. This is despite the draft criteria saying that descriptor C describes people who can move ‘up to’ 50 metres (this man clearly can’t walk as far as 50 metres because it says he can only walk 20-30 steps, which is clearly not as far as 50 metres – unless he’s a giant!). It’s quite confusing, almost as if they’ve written it in the most confusing possible way!

      I wouldn’t think your MP has any idea of how this all works, unless he or she is on the Work and Pensions Select Committee or has another reason for having looked at the criteria very carefully. Most MP’s don’t seem to understand the actual legislation they’re voting on, never mind the regulations being drafted under it.

      I’ve booked to see my MP on 21 February and I’ve asked to meet him in the car park of where we’re meeting so I can show him the recently-adapted WAV internal transfer vehicle which I could lose because I can walk about 20-30 steps like the man in case study 6! My MP says he really doesn’t think I will lose my car, but I think his confidence only comes from having no idea what the draft criteria actually say! I might keep my vehicle, but it’s too close to call.

      • Thanks for that. I’m hoping they clarify it before too long. I would have thought though, that if the actual wording on the application form stays the same – ie can move up to 50 metres only with the use of a wheelchair, they are going to have a hard time with appeals if they try to make a lesser award to people who can only walk a few steps and then have to use a wheelchair. I think that people who use manual wheelchairs, rather than attendant pushed or electrics, are going to have a hard time trying to prove they cannot push themselves more that the 50 metres. It’s so unfair, and I think the whole thing proves that the legislation proves that it’s been drafted by people who have little or no idea of what it’s like to be disabled in the real world. Cameron ought to be ashamed of himself – his son was disabled, he claimed DLA for him and he knows what disability involves on a day to day basis. Why is he trying to remove it from those much less fortunate than himself when he’s aware of what the consequences are.

  36. I cannot even work out how many points I would get.
    I can walk up to 50m outside with crutches then have to stop because of pan & fatigue.
    I don’t however use a wheelchair at all.
    BUT I can only do an outside trip about twice a week because the pain I am left in after doing so takes a couple of days to settle to manageable levels.
    “D Cannot move up to 50 metres without using an aid or appliance, other than a wheelchair or a motorised device. For example: identifies individuals who can use an aid or appliance to move up to 50 metres but then require a wheelchair for anything further.”
    Looking at this, I think I will probably be given 10 points but because they mention “then require a wheelchair for anything further.” I am truly bewildered.

    Can anyone offer any pointers?

    Truly terrified that I will lose everything by these changes & guesss what, that fear is increasing the pain I’m in.
    Stupid callous decisions to try & blame the sick for the excesses of the wealthy.

    • kb32904 I contacted benefits and work website on friday regarding this question and the general consensus seems to be that if you can walk a few metres and would require a wheelchair to move up to 50 metres you would qualify for the enhanced rate – but only if you could either not manage to wheel yourself the full 50 metres in a self propelled chair or you need an attendant operated or electric chair. The directions for the assessor are that the claimant has to be able to complete the activity repeatedly and in a timely manner. The advice I was given is that if you can only walk the 50 metres very slowly and with pain/fatigue, and it would take more than twice the time taken by a non disabled person, then you are considered unable to walk. Presumably it then becomes a matter for the assessor to decide whether you could use a manual wheelchair, and to what distance you could propel yourself, or whether you would need an attendant or electrically propelled chair. Have a look at benefits and work website because there’s a copy of the latest descriptors on there along with examples of what the likely descriptor choices of the assessors would be in various scenarios. There is an example of someone who can walk thirty paces but would then need a wheelchair for anything further. He only scores 8 points and qualifies for the standard rate because he is assessed as being able to propel himself in a manual wheelchair for more than 50 metres in total – however someone in the same situation who would only be able to use a pushed or electrically operated chair would get the full points necessary for the enhanced rate. . The problem with the mobility component seems to be that for those people who can only walk a little and who have not already had their wheelchair needs assessed, it’s going to be very much down to what the assessor thinks, and the evidence you submit to back up your claim, so we’ve gone from one set of very subjective criteria to another. . Because the low level disabilities will have already been weeded out in PIP, by ending the lower rate awards previously available under DLA, the focus is then on the most severely disabled. PIP seems to nitpick between minute details of already very severe disability, awarding the points on the differential. The government can state it’s intention to support the most severely disabled all it wants – I’m afraid in my view this is not about support, it’s about cutting costs and support to the most severely disabled. They are the ones who cost the most in terms of awards and PIP is aimed at narrowing the descriptors of complex disability as much as possible in order to justify reducing the amount paid. Maybe a little light at the end of the tunnel is that they have not yet finalised the descriptors, so there may be some wiggle room if enough people or organisations object, and as far as I’m aware there is still discussion taking place with motability to decide which level of award will qualify for the scheme. All we can do now is wait and protest wherever we can.

      • That’s really helpful, but I’m surprised Benefits and Work are taking the view that you only get the enhanced rate if you need someone else or a motor to propel the wheelchair up to 50 metres. The descriptors clearly state that if you need a wheelchair to move up to 50 metres and you can propel that wheelchair yourself, you get 12 points (enough for the enhanced rate). If you need someone pushing or a motor to get you 50 metres you get 15 points. I think the real problem is the 50 metres and the fact that there seems to be an implication that if you can’t walk 50 metres but you don’t use a wheelchair you only get the basic rate; that seems to imply that you’re penalised for not using a wheelchair!! All very puzzling and concerning and, as you say, nitpicking.

      • Thank you Pam – I will defo go & look at what they say.

        Jane said: I think the real problem is the 50 metres and the fact that there seems to be an implication that if you can’t walk 50 metres but you don’t use a wheelchair you only get the basic rate; that seems to imply that you’re penalised for not using a wheelchair!!

        Thats how I read it too – its almost as if they want us all in chairs :(

      • So basically only people who cannot walk at all or those who walk less than 50 m but also propel their wheelchairs less than 50 metres are guaranteed enhanced rate?

        Others will have to rely on the interpretation of “repeatedly and in a timely manner”.

        Despite being an electric wheelchair user myself and likely to qualify, I find this disgusting. Wheelchair users are not the only people with large mobility needs and costs despite the public’s (and government’s) perception of “disability”.

      • Yep, that’s it. And my interpretation is that for those who cannot walk and qualify under the repeatedly and timely manner rules will be at the mercy of the assessor as to whether they consider them able to wheel themselves more than the 50 metres because anything more than that will not qualify for the higher rate. What hope have we got when the rules for the assessors are so open to interpretation. These people are being paid a bonus for every benefit claimant they deny so of course they’re going to go for the lower rate – or no rate at all. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Mr Cameron knows first hand what disability means, so he should be ashamed of himself for allowing these proposals. He openly admitted claiming DLA himself for his son, so he has no excuse for not knowing what a lifeline it is.

      • Well maybe he does have an excuse. At the risk of being judgmental and admittedly not knowing his personal circumstances in detail, I would submit that DLA is not a “lifeline” for a millionaire in the same way that it is for someone on a restricted income and/or with few or no savings.

      • Never thought of it like that Spoonydoc. You’re right. It’s no more a lifeline for the PM than for the lottery winners who continue to claim it. I’m not a fan of means testing something like DLA because it kind of defeats the object of it being an allowance for the extra costs of disability, but I do think you have to draw the line somewhere. The welfare state is no place for the very wealthy whatever the disability, and if there are to be cuts, then maybe some sort of realistic threshold would ensure that the funds reach the people who don’t have vast resources, rather than those who have more than adequate other means and only claim it because they can. I’m thinking about the £88,000 threshold for child benefit- they’d have to sort out the mess they made with the rate for single parents first though, as that’s not fair either. Not exactly clear thinking in this area are they ? It’s been my experience that the more severe the disability, the less life chances there are, resulting in less earning capacity, and traditionally disabled people are among the poorest paid when in work with less opportunity for advancement. When the reduced earning capacity meets the extra disability related costs, it’s not hard to see the relevance of DLA. and yet successive governments have all targeted it – labour included. They have also not given much thought to the fact that under these proposals, the most severely disabled among us, who have had the support of DLA (and attendance and mobility allowances before it) for most of our lives, are suddenly going to be cut loose and left to fend for themselves. It won’t end well – for any of us.

  37. It seems to be harking back to the days when people regarded a wheelchair as a symbol of the most severe disability – thought we’d got away from categorising people in this way. Very simplistic, not to mention insulting, and I agree – the 50 metres IS the problem. This government is stripping back thirty years of progress and hard won battles for equality and I have actually heard comments made in the media to the effect that ‘ so what if disability benefit cuts leave some people struggling – charities will pick up where welfare leaves off’. I heard an interview on radio 4 a couple of weeks ago – Mark Littlewood a one time government adviser was answering questions from the public on disability benefit cuts. He said that the disabled would have to learn to cope without benefits in the future as there was simply no money left. He said that he, himself had made sure a long time ago that he was well insured, both medically, and against unemployment due to disablity and he advised the disabled to do the same. He also thought that there was no reason the disabled could not go back to being ‘dealt with’ by charities. I could cheerfully have ripped the car radio out of the dashboard I was so angry !! How is someone born with a disability supposed to insure against it ? How does someone with a disability get medical insurance ? What planet is Mr Littlewood on ? I do think there’s a certain amount of truth in what you say about the government wanting us all in chairs – if not that, they certainly want us all housebound and out of sight. We obviously make the place look untidy !!

  38. Incidentally did anyone see it splashed over Yahoo and several tabloids yesterday, that the Euromillions winners were claiming DLA ? I have mixed feelings about this. Whilst the DWP confirmed they weren’t doing anything wrong as the benefit is not means tested, I think things like this just turn the ill-informed public against disability benefits even more. My own feeling is that they should have handed back the benefit and the car and made a sizable donation to Motability for keeping them mobile. I also think that this may be a good way for the government to realistically cut the benefit budget – millionaires should be outside the scope of the welfare state whatever the disability. But on the other hand, Mr Cameron claimed DLA for his son and I don’t see the media gunning for him. I also wonder whether the reason they didn’t relinquish DLA is because it’s the passport to other things like the blue badge and other disabled services they couldn’t otherwise access.

    • My view on the issue of universal benefits is that wealthy pensioners shouldn’t get the winter fuel allowance. Some months ago several celebrities of pensionable age were discussing which charity they’d give their allowance to – as they clearly didn’t need it! The big problem with the government is that it protects pensioners’ benefits while making drastic cuts in those for people of working age; it’s because they benefit hugely from the grey vote grrr!

      • Yep, agree with all of that. Pity they’re not as scared of the disabled vote – or do they figure we’ll all be dead by the time the next election rolls around !!

  39. A polite request for people to contact their MPs is always welcomed.
    An aggressive tirade however remains insulting and patronising.
    Thank you for your time.

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