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Disabled claimants take legal action over Government’s mobility benefit changes

Three disabled claimants are taking legal action against the Government over new stringent measures to qualify for higher rate mobility benefit.

The three clients currently receive disability living allowance (DLA) including the higher rate of the mobility component – a non-means-tested cash benefit providing people with assistance towards mobility aids.

Under DLA a person is entitled to the higher rate of the mobility component if they are ‘unable or virtually unable to walk’.

Claimants are considered to be ‘virtually unable to walk’ if they cannot walk more than around 50 metres.

However, the new Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (PIP) have reduced this benchmark distance to 20 metres.

Kim Storr has rheumatoid arthritis and other severe progressive conditions and her mobility is affected by joint swelling and pain.

She currently receives DLA including the higher rate of the mobility component and needs an adapted vehicle to enable her to go out independently.

Steven Sumpter has ME, and can walk short distances with a stick, but is otherwise dependent on a wheelchair.  He was assessed as eligible for the higher rate of the mobility component of DLA last year, which he has used to lease a Motability car.

The third claimant is protected by an anonymity order to protect their identity.

Proceedings have been issued against the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Ian Duncan Smith, claiming that the new regulations regarding the PIP payment are flawed and unlawful.

One of the claimants posted in an online blog: “We will be arguing that the DWP were required to consult on such a fundamental change and that they did not provide adequate information during the consultation that did take place.

“We will also argue that the DWP failed in their duty under the Equality Act 2010 to assess the impact of the new regulations on disabled people.”

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