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 below, or read the Government's FAQ here.
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?
Whether you will be affected by the change right away depends on whether you are going for an assessment or an appeal in the courts. The Government has said that it is producing new guidance for the people who do assessments and that things will only change once this guidance is finished. It says that if you have an assessment in the meantime things won’t have changed, but they might write to you later if they think you should have received a higher award.
However the Government also says that the courts should already be applying the new law. So if you are going for an appeal, the decision should take into account the way psychological distress affects you when making journeys.
We will update this page when we know more, but in the meantime, 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 an assessment 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 currently receive PIP. 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 and no-one will have their award reduced as part of this process. 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.
I have been turned down for PIP recently. What will this mean for me?
If you have been turned down for PIP since December 2016 and struggle to make journeys because of psychological distress then the Government say they will look at your case as part of their review and write to you if you could be entitled to more support.
If you were turned down for PIP before December 2016 then the Government say they will not automatically look at your decision, but that you might want to consider making a new claim to PIP once they have finished their guidance. We will keep this page updated with more information.