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Changes to mobility allowances under PIP – ask your MP to stop this injustice!

via Disabled People Against Cuts:

Below is a brief about the changes to mobility allowances that the Government is planning to introduce under Personal Independence Payments, followed by an example of a message you can send to your MP, which includes a space for you to fill in details of how the changes will affect you or people you know.

The changes are being voted on in Parliament in the first few months of 2013 so it’s important for you to act now!

This brief is adapted using sources from other blog posts.

Brief on the issue

In April 2013, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) is being replaced by a new benefit called Personal Independent Payment (PIP). The government has said it aims to save 20% through the change and it is expected that 330,000 disabled people will lose their benefit entirely by October 2015 and 607,000 by May 2018.

DLA is paid to both working and non-working people, in order to help cover the extra costs of disability.

It comes in two components. One covers mobility and is paid to people who have trouble getting around, and the other covers personal care. Each has different rates to allow for differing levels of need.

The mobility component is particularly important as it can be used in the Motability scheme whereby instead of receiving cash the disabled person can lease a car for three years. This is vital for people who need larger or adapted cars for their wheelchairs or disability equipment, which can be costly. The scheme may also be used to lease electric wheelchairs which are not always provided on the NHS. The mobility component comes in two rates and only the higher rate is eligible for the Motability scheme. The same will be true for PIP, with a standard and enhanced rate.

The problem is that the goalposts have been moved and the criteria to qualify for the enhanced rate severely restricted.

From now on the only people who will qualify for the enhanced rate are those who can “stand and move” less than 20m (around 60 feet).

This includes with the use of aids such as a prosthetic, crutches or a walking stick. Anyone who can move further than this distance will only qualify for the standard rate, even if they then need to use a wheelchair for longer distances. Furthermore, anyone who can “stand and move” more than 50m becomes ineligible for the benefit completely.

Under DLA, the cut-off point for the ‘higher rate’ mobility component was 50m, and for the ‘standard rate’ 100m, so this is a huge change. 20m is a very short distance indeed – a bendy bus is roughly 20m long

To give you an idea of what this might mean, think of someone who is able to walk with a walking stick around their house and from their front door to the road or garage to their car but would have to use a wheelchair once they arrived at their destination. At the moment they would get high rate DLA. They would qualify for Motability and could get an adapted car. Under PIP they only get standard rate as they can “move” more than 20m. They lose Motability and their adapted car.

How do they now get around, as public transport is clearly unsuitable?

It is expected that at least 480,000 people will lose their entitlement to the higher rate mobility allowance of whom an estimated 100,000 are reliant on Motability. Remember that these are disabled people with high mobility impairments deemed under DLA “virtually unable to walk”.

Example letter to your MP

MR/MS YOUR NAME

YOU MUST INCLUDE YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS

OR YOUR MP WILL NOT BE ABLE TO ACT ON YOUR REQUEST

Dear YOUR MP’s NAME,

I am writing to you to ask you to vote against the draft regulations for the new Personal Independence Payments (PIP), which are due to be debated in Parliament in the next few months.

PIPs are due to replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA) by April 2013. One of the changes outlined in the published regulations, which were laid before Parliament on the 13th December, is particularly harmful. The draft regulations reduce the cut-off point for the distance a claimant must be able to walk in order to qualify for the higher rate mobility component of PIP from 50m to 20m, and the qualifying distance for the standard rate mobility component from 100m to 50m.

Strong objections to this change were raised by Disabled Peoples Organisations, grass roots groups and individuals during the consultation period, but no adjustment has been made. 20m is an extremely short distance – about the length of a bendy bus.

As a result of the changes, it is estimated that 480,000 people will lose their high-rate DLA, with around 100,000 of these currently reliant on Motability, the car leasing scheme available under DLA.

If passed as they are, the draft regulations will rob hundreds of thousands of people of their ability to live independently – to be able to travel to work, GP and hospital appointments, and other essential journeys. We are in danger of seeing people losing their jobs, and benefits claims rising rather than falling.

Please speak out against this injustice during the debate on PIPs, and insist that the Department for Work and Pensions return to the old cut-off points for mobility allowances. Please also speak to your colleagues and ask them to vote against the draft regulations.

Yours sincerely,

YOUR NAME

You can find the details of your MP at www.theyworkforyou.com by entering your postcode. You can also email them through the site.

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