January 2018 PIP changes

In December 2017 the courts ruled that recent restrictions to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) discriminated against people with mental health problems. The Government have now said that they won’t appeal this ruling. Read our information about what this might mean for people claiming PIP.

What did the courts say about PIP?

PIP is awarded in two parts. If you are claiming PIP for a mental health problem, one part will look at how your mental health affects your daily life, and the other will look at how your mental health affects your ability to travel and make journeys. In March 2017 the Government changed the law so that people who find it hard to make journeys because they experience overwhelming distress are entitled to less support from PIP than other people. 

In December the courts said these changes were unlawful because:

  • They unjustifiably discriminate against people with mental health problems
  • The Government didn’t consult on them
  • The Government didn’t have the right powers to make them

The Government have now said they won’t challenge this decision and will make sure that people who experience psychological distress can be eligible for support from PIP in the same way as other disabled people.

I have a PIP assessment or appeal coming up. What will this mean for me?

The Government have accepted the judgement which means that the changes they made last year no longer apply. If you struggle to make journeys because you experience psychological distress then you should talk about this in your assessment or appeal. If you can, you should provide evidence from people who know you e.g your GP, a support worker, or friends and family.

Whether you’re entitled to extra support will still depend on things like how often your mental health affects your ability to make journeys, what kind of support you need, and whether you can make journeys safely. If you need advice, you can find links to organisations who may be able to help here.

If you are going through a reconsideration or appeal, you or someone supporting you might want to reference these changes to make sure that the person making the decision takes them into account. You can link to this page at 'mind.org.uk/pipchanges'

I have been awarded PIP or turned down for PIP in the past. What will this mean for me?

If psychological distress affects your ability to make journeys, there is a chance you could be entitled to more support. The Government has said that it will write to everyone who has been affected and that it will backdate payments to when you had your decision or to December 2016 (which is when a court first ruled that people should be entitled to more support).

They've confirmed that this won't mean people will have to go through another face-to-face assessment, but we are waiting to hear more details, including whether there will be a way to tell the Government that you think you should be getting more support because of these changes.

We will update this page when we know more about this process, and we’ll be pushing to make sure that everyone affected can access the support they are entitled to.


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