You may have heard or read news that the Government is going to review 1.6 million PIP awards. They changed the PIP mobility descriptors last March, affecting people who could not travel independently on the grounds of ‘psychological distress’. The Government were taken to the High Court late last year because this discriminated against people with mental health conditions. They have to go back over all the decisions they have made. They think that about 220,000 people will be affected – these people will be given a new decision.
The DWP has said it will be directly contacting anyone affected and additional payments would be backdated to the effective date in each claim. The effective date is either 28th November 2016 (when the decision was first challenged) or the start of an award if that is later. Claimants do not need to write to the DWP in order to receive the correct award. Because it is just a review of the paperwork, no-one will have to undergo a new assessment and no-one will have their award reduced through this process. The DWP will tell people when their award has been reviewed.
However, it is worth bearing in mind that the DWP has refused to put a timetable on how long the review exercise will take, which could be years. So if you want an answer sooner rather than later, you might like to consider adding a bit of pressure by contacting the DWP/writing to your MP, if the previous decision is causing you severe hardship (for some people it will have prevented them leaving home).
This review will now also take into account people who might have problems with a variety of tasks due to safety issues. The DWP would only allow this if there was a likelihood of harm for the majority of days in the year. An Upper Tribunal decision says that the DWP have to take into account not only the likelihood of harm but also the severity of what might happen – so even if the risk of harm isn’t there all the time, there might be a risk of severe harm when it does happen. The effective date for these cases is 9th March 2017, or the start of an award if that is later.
Anyone who thinks they should be eligible, whose award started earlier than the effective dates listed above, can also have their claim looked at again, but they would need to make a new claim.