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Billie, a claimant with severe mental health issues, has launched a legal challenge against the recent changes to PIP. The new regulations have made it much harder for people with mental health conditions to get an award of the mobility component.
In January of this year the DWP lost a case before a panel of upper tribunal judges.
Rather than accept defeat, the government rushed through new regulations which came into force in March.
The effect is to make it much harder for claimants with a mental health condition to get an award of the mobility component of PIP.
Billie (not her real name) has severe mental health problems which mean that she is extremely vulnerable when travelling. She needs a lot of support to do this reliably and safely.
Billie was refused an award of the mobility component of PIP under the new regulations.
She has launched her High Court challenge on the basis that the change in the law discriminates against claimants with mental health conditions and also on the grounds that the DWP should have carried out a proper consultation before deciding whether to bring in the changes.
Billie and the Public Law Project are collaborating with human rights barrister Aileen McColgan of Matrix Chambers, who is working on a no-win no-fee basis.
However, £3,000 is still needed to cover court fees and other expenses.
We know the government is desperate to slash the benefits bill.
This time it was claimants with mental health conditions who were targeted. Next it could be an claimants with an entirely different condition.
Whatever your health condition, everyone has an interest in ensuring that the DWP learns that it can’t just change the PIP regulations whenever it chooses.
At least, not without facing a serious legal backlash.
If you can afford a small donation, Billie’s Crowdjustice page is here
Good luck,
Steve Donnison

There has been widespread criticism of how the Government is cutting disability benefits and their undignified assessments. There are particular concerns as to how the changes from Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) have been enforced.

A further attack on cutting disabled people's benefits was made in March, when the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) amended the PIP regulations to make it clear that ‘effects of psychological distress are not relevant’ (The Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) (Amendment) Regulations 2017) when considering a claimant's ability to ‘plan and follow a journey’. This means many suffering from psychological distress will not get PIP to help them with staying active and maintaining their independence. The DWP brought in these changes without consultation, and they go directly against the ruling of three judges at an Upper Tribunal in November 2016.