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An Upper Tribunal Appeal judgement means that mentally ill people who need to be accompanied on unfamiliar journeys will likely be denied eligibility for Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

The tribunal ruled that the PIP descriptor “Cannot follow the route of an unfamiliar journey without another person, assistance dog or orientation aid” only applies to a disabled person’s ability to navigate ‘in terms of following a route’.

People who meet the requirement of the descriptor are awarded 10 points, which on its own is enough to be eligible for the low rate PIP mobility component – worth £21.80 per week.

The new judgement overrules a previous decision that allowed mentally ill people prone to anxiety or panic attacks, and whom need to be accompanied, the “planning and following a journey” PIP mobility components.

Those affected by the ruling may still meet the requirements of PIP descriptor “Needs prompting to be able to undertake any journey to avoid overwhelming psychological distress to the claimant”, which is awarded just 4 points – not enough to qualify for PIP on its own.

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) says the “extremely disappointing decision” means that people who need to be accompanied on an “unfamiliar journey” due to panic or anxiety “will not successfully migrate” from DLA to the mobility component of PIP.

Responding to the tribunals ruling on their website, DRUK writes:  “Disability Rights UK is dismayed at this extremely disappointing decision.

“Its effect will mean that those disabled people who are accompanied out of doors due to mental health issues such as anxiety or panic attacks will be denied any rate of PIP to compensate them for the extra costs this may bring.

“The new judgment means that those DLA claimants who receive the lower rate of its mobility component due to a need for supervision will not successfully migrate to the mobility component of PIP.”

Last edited at 02:45 on 15 January 2016 to provide greater clarity.