Nearly half of sick and disabled people who were in receipt of the highest mobility rate of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) were denied the equivalent level of support when moved to Personal Independence Payment (PIP), a Freedom of Information (FOI) request has revealed.
A FOI request sent to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) by Mr Ken Butler, Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser at the charity Disability Rights UK (DRUK), reveals the extent to which DLA claimants are losing out on vital support under cruel and draconian welfare changes.
In response to the FOI request, the DWP state that 471,000 DLA claimants who were receipt of the higher mobility rate of DLA had been reassessed for PIP by 31 October 2107.
Of these, 241,920 (52%) were awarded the enhanced PIP mobility rate, 65,200 (25%) had their benefit reduced to the standard PIP mobility rate, and 65,200 (23%) lost their mobility rate entitlement altogether.
“Those disabled people whose entitlement has been reduced to the standard mobility rate of PIP have lost £37.10 per week (the equivalent of £1929 per year)”, says DRUK.
They have also lost their entitlement to the Motability scheme, because it is restricted to only those receiving the enhanced mobility rate of PIP.
Those sick and disabled people who have lost all entitlement to mobility support when moved to PIP have lost £59.75 per week, or a staggering £3107 per year.
Ken Butler said: “The latest DWP figures continue to show how damaging PIP is to disabled people’s income and independence.
“One of the main reasons for lower PIP mobility rates is the introduction of the “20 metre rule”, used to assess mobility in PIP assessments.
“Under DLA, someone was awarded the highest mobility rate if they could not walk the measure was 50 metres.
“Now, the PIP benchmark is just over 20 metres (roughly the length of two double-decker buses).
“The distance of 20 metres is an arbitrary figure that lacks an evidence base and is barring thousands of disabled people who need the benefit the most.”
Mr Butler added: “While the DWP does publish some PIP statistics it does not publish information that shows the actual effect of the 20 metre rule.
“It is a scandal that for a second year DR UK has had to use FoI legislation to secure such figures.”