Go back a step

Government announces change to Personal Independence Payment entitlement rules

Monday 27th February 2017

Contact a Family is extremely concerned about planned changes to the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) criteria rules.

Last week the government made the surprise announcement that it is changing the PIP rules. The change will mean that fewer people will be able to get this benefit.

The new rules they are introducing will:

  • Make it harder for people with mental health problems to qualify for the mobility component.
  • Make it harder for people to qualify for PIP who don't get therapy but who instead need help to both manage their medication and monitor their health condition.

The new regulations will come into force on the 16th March. The government says that the changes will only apply to new awards after that date and will not lead to any existing awards being reduced.

Contact a Family's response

The change could affect around 150,000 disabled people. Some of those affected will be disabled young people who use PIP to help them to do the things other youngster take for granted. 

Amanda Batten, CEO at Contact a Family, says:

"This sudden rule change is causing unnecessary worry and pressure on disabled people and their family carers. The Department for Work and Pensions acknowledges that the impact is complex to predict, and so there is a significant risk that the numbers affected could be much higher.

"Families with disabled children have been hit time and time again by welfare changes, and this feels like another blow to already struggling disabled youngsters and their parent carers."

Why is the government changing the rule?

The government has decided to act following two recent Upper Tribunal decisions.

In decision [2016] UKUT 531 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal said that entitlement to PIP mobility on the basis of being unable to follow a journey was not restricted to those with learning difficulties or sensory impairments, but also covered those who had problems in reliably following a journey due to overwhelming psychological distress.

In [2016] UKUT 0530 (AAC), the Upper Tribunal found that where someone needed substantial help both to take medication and to monitor their condition, this should be considered as support to 'manage therapy' allowing them to get more points under the PIP rules.

The changes to the PIP rules that the government are introducing will effectively reverse both of these Upper Tribunal decisions.

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