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Court Of Appeal Hearing On Challenge To ‘Unfair’ Implementation Of New Mobility Benefit

Call For Action As 500,000 ‘Set To Lose Mobility Support’


Legal experts in Irwin Mitchell’s Public Law team are going to the Court of Appeal to challenge the decision of the Secretary of State to reduce the eligibility threshold for the higher rate of mobility support, cutting the maximum distance that claimants are able to walk from 50 metres to just 20 metres.

It is predicted that as a result of the change more than 500,000 people who would have been entitled to the higher rate of mobility support under Disability Living Allowance as a result of physical problems with getting around, will not receive the enhanced rate under the new benefit.

The case is just the latest related to PIP which Irwin Mitchell has been involved in, with the legal experts last month urging the Government to rethink plans to expand the rollout of the PIP scheme after succeeding in a judicial review which led to long-term delays in the processing of applications being ruled unlawful.

Alastair Wallace, a specialist public lawyer at Irwin Mitchell who is acting in the case related to the mobility component, said: “Our client originally challenged the consultation during the creation of the PIP system and while this led to a further review, we still believe that the current proposals are unfair.

“Mobility issues have a massive impact on the lives of those affected, often meaning they lose a significant level of independence and – without support – can be left isolated from their loved ones and the local community.

“A reduction in the eligibility may mean that hundreds of thousands of people who would have been able to access support would now be frozen out. Our client is not alone in this either and it is time that disabled people who have been touched by this have their voices heard on the issue.”

Irwin Mitchell’s lead client in this case is Steven Sumpter, 36, from Evesham in Worcestershire, who currently receives Disability Living Allowance as a result of his long-term health problems caused by mitochondrial disease.

His condition means he has poor balance and can only walk a short distance with the aid of a stick. Otherwise he requires wheelchair support.

However, due to the criteria, he may not be eligible for the enhanced level of mobility support when he is moved to PIP in 2016.

Steven said: “Without access to support, I would be unable to do a huge number of activities that many people take for granted. I would lose my Motability vehicle and would struggle to access local amenities including supermarkets.

“The government policy on eligibility would leave me completely in the lurch and massively affect my quality of life.”

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