Wednesday 18 January 2012

Can't walk more than 50 metres? Under PIP I'm not disabled enough

Today, Maria Miller insisted: "I want to reassure disabled people that if you need support you will continue to get it under PIP". Well having looked at the criteria for higher mobility component of the new PIP, I can categorically state that isn't true. I currently qualify for higher rate mobility under DLA but I won't under PIP. Under the new rules for PIP if a disabled person CANNOT walk more than 50 metres but doesn't need a wheelchair then they will no longer be entitled to higher rate mobility, which in short means access to a car through the motability scheme.

Please re-read that sentence and then think through the callousness of that statement and what that means to disabled claimants, like me.It means my world would be reduced to my home, and a stumble to the end of my road at best. My world, which has already been turned upside down by my worsening health, would diminish so much I'd have to question whether there is any point fighting to stay off the lung transplant list anymore.

Lord Freud said he was "personally committed to making Personal Independence Payment an effective, efficient benefit that targets support where it can help those facing the largest challenges in leading an independent life". Yet he was saying this already knowing what draft proposals for PIP were and that they effectively meant that independence would be taken away, that we would return to a time where disabled people are confined to their own homes.

My concerns for the scrapping of DLA were centered around the health assessments that all claimants would be expected to face. The disabled community know that similar health assessments run by Atos to qualify for ESA are fraught with errors. Currently 40% of decisions that people are 'fit to work' are overturned at appeal.

But how wrong was I. It isn't the health assessment I should have been worried about but the thresholds set by the Government over what constitutes 'disability'. I can barely walk down the road my lungs are now so ruined and scarred by Cystic Fibrosis. My heart beat at rest is 120, I daren't find out what it is when I try to move. I'm always out of breath even when sitting down not moving, when I walk I can get so out of breath that I think perhaps I should call an ambulance so scared am I that I won't be able to calm my breathing down. This is my private business though, I don't wish to burden other people with these thoughts, I am coping with my ill health and I have the mental strength to do so, but I only ask for the help that I need. Why should I be forced to write this, effectively begging the Government to rethink their callousness?

Last night when I read the thresholds for qualifying for higher rate mobility I was distraught, angry, scared for the future. I've been married less than one year, I have hopes for the future, even though I know that future won't be as long as everyone else's, I'm not ready to be stuck in my flat, hidden away from society. I feel unwanted by the Government, a burden, a problem, someone they can't be bothered with anymore, someone they don't wish to be outside contributing and integrating with society. Today is a very bad day for me.


  1. the true distance would be 25 metres as you have to get back from where you go to! its disgraceful!

  2. It is disgraceful and that is why we can not give up, you must not give up, we have a right to live as well and independently as is possible for as long as it is possible,and we have the right to expect the assistance we need to help us do this, we are lot lesser beings, neither are we a burden, financially,or otherwise, we are thinking,Feeling human beings and I for one intend to be treated as such.

  3. I am a regular commenter & blogger but I'm being anonymous in case my family read this. I will be one of the PIP losers, going from DLA HRC and HRM to barely qualifying for basic mobility under PIP, and no living support. Like you, I can't walk or even 'mobilise' the 50 metres under the ESA invisible wheelchair test, but because I'm not yet entirely dependent on an electric one I may never be able to afford to buy one.

    I had a bad fall recently and pretty much crocked an entire leg which had given way beneath me - my knee reflexes are packing up, the ankles are long gone - so that's probably my 18 month warning. In 18 months to 2 years I won't actually have a choice any more and will need the wheelchair but will probably be too late to qualify for PIP. I pretended that I'd not done too much damage so as not to distract my carer who had an exam that day and I'm trying not to worry him with this, but it's terrifying. I don't HAVE the option of going back to work as I'm just not well enough. There isn't work flexible enough for me to do from home. I'm wondering what the point is if my future amounts to little more than public abuse, dependency and being housebound. Other people might be happy enough like this, but I have neither the personality type nor the social support that would make it bearable. So far I've been able to carve out something approaching a life with the extra money from DLA but that will stop. At some point I guess, so will I.

  4. what abt court of human rights whats going on with that!!!!!

  5. Isn't it the case though, that you have to need a MOTORISED wheelchair to get the higher rate though? It is ridiculous!

  6. It was in the first draft. Now you can get high rate if you use a manual chair as long as you're completely unable to walk at all. If you can take a single step it's lower rate.

  7. For me, a real concern is beyond the financial. Receiving a higher mobility rate DLA is such a passport or gateway to other assistance. I can't get a blue badge without the higher rate and some jobs I have been too have been really funny about me saying I have mobility problems without receiving the higher rate. Someone actually asked if I was registered disabled as they wanted proof that I was disabled.

    There are three types of people: able, disabled with a bit of paper to prove it and those not disabled enough (ie disabled enough that it has a significant impact on day to day life, but apparently not disabled enough to get any/enough help to compensate!)

  8. I to am distraught over the pip benefit and am researched it. the problem with it is the wording.
    if it is detrimental to your health and your condition will deteriorate that is the way that i might get it. but even then i will be stuck and like you I just cannot go back to living that way. i like being an active member of my community i like having friends i like going to classes.
    when my time comes to fill in the form i will just have to explain this to them and hope they get it.
    I am that afraid that i still do not know whether to tell them my change of circumstances have changed for the worse.
    i totally understand where your coming from

  9. due to the government changing the goalpost widths I no longer qualify for ESA. I have severe bilateral club foot (both feet) which have progressively deteriorated over the years to the point where I cannot walk at all I use crutches around the house but use a wheelchair to go out, they have said because I can propel myself 200metres on flat ground I have 0 points. I am now having to claim jobseekers whilst my appeal is in but struggle to meet the criteria of applying for jobs every 2 weeks as there is just no jobs that meet my needs

    1. i carnt imagine how you feel. Im 36 aand was born with rightsided hemaplegia. Istruggle to work part time claim no benifits at all as my condition is stable at the moment and have just been told my blue badge which allows me to get to work and home -thats as far as i go without my mother or my husband - is now being taken away- the distance i will have to walk for the only other alternative carpark is just not possible and im distraught to say the least and i think i am just ablout able on a good day to walk 50 meters on a regula basis i have no hope.I think this whole think is discussing - talk about being a second class citizen

  10. This has totally scared the life out of me. Over the last 3yrs I have been shoved from pillar to post trying to get a diagnosis. A year and a half ago a letter was sent to my gp suggesting I be sent for investigation to a orthopaedic consultant, this letter was ignored. In the meantime my condition has worsened to the point where I had to give up work as they couldn't find a position conducive to my pain. A couple of months ago I requested a test to excluded an illness which I was sent for & it was found I have severe arthritis in both hips & back so now I have to have Total hip replacement of both hips, it makes me wonder if I'd been sent earlier could it of been delayed. Anyway I have been receiving PIP for daily care but not mobility, I have just asked for this to be reviewed as I can no longer fight the pain (even with loads of slow release morphine and oral morphine to take as needed) of walking. I can walk but just going to the car leaves me in pain and at 46 using a wheelchair is an embarrassment I have now succumbed to but I'm scared that now I'm asking for more help not only will I not be eligible but they may take my current payment away. Have I made a huge error?

  11. I feel for you.My wife was getting the higher rate of DLA and middle care,which she had for 3 yrs,however,when she applied for PIP she was only awarded the standard rate and nothing for the living component.She has osteoarthiritis in both knees,carpel-tunnel syndrome in her right wrist and a frozen shoulder.She also suffers from mental health issues ie.Bipolar.She can no longer use crutches so has been referred for a wheelchair,yet we failed in our appeal to get the rate she should be entitled to.It is a disgrace and i am sure many other people will be in the same situation as her.