Personal Independence Payments, Mental Distress and Uniform Policy in Determining Mobility Claims


  • Zia Akhtar



In December 2018, the Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work revealed to Parliament that only 140,000 Personal Independence Payment (PIP) cases had been officially reviewed and cleared for the given year. Disclosure of this meagre number (at the time less than 10 per cent of all applications) was preceded by a decision of the High Court (RF v Secretary of State [2017] EWHC 3375) which found that regulations that came into force last year were “blatantly discriminatory” to people who were suffering from mental health problems.The issue that it brings to the surface is that this is an integrated benefit where the mental health component and the mobility component are overlapping. This has been revealed by the "psychological distress" suffered as a consequence of a lack of mobility of the claimant who has been awarded the benefit. This paper enquires if the PIP is a social security provision that has been injudiciously implemented without sufficient consultation given its anomalies, and it argues for the need for clarity and the application of a set criteria for evaluation. There is also a basis to argue that it should be deemed as an integral mobility and mental health-based benefit with greater regard for the claimant's existing welfare provisions rather than a subjective reliance on the assessor's report.Keywords: Personal Independence Payment; PIP; mental health; discrimination; mobility; psychological distress, Article 14, paragraph 2.4, descriptor 3 (b) (2).