PIP discrimination challenge reaches the High Court

Published: November 9 2017

PIP discrimination challenge reaches the High Court

The Public Law Project (PLP) is representing a client, RF, who is bringing a challenge to the unfair and discriminatory way those with psychological distress are treated by the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) rules.  PIP was introduced in 2013 as a replacement for the Disability Living Allowance and provides an essential lifeline for people with disabilities to support their higher costs of living.

Regulations that came into force in March 2017 mean that people with serious mental health conditions, who are unable to plan or undertake a journey because of overwhelming psychological distress, receive fewer points in the PIP assessment and are only entitled to a lower level of support, if any.  

PLP is acting for the claimant in RF v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, with the support of numerous charities including The National Autistic Society, Disability Rights UK, Revolving Doors Agency and Inclusion London. This week, detailed evidence was filed in support of RF’s claim. It is RF’s case that the DWP’s changes to PIP are discriminatory and unfair and should not have been implemented without undertaking a thorough consultation. The case will be heard in the High Court on 12-13 December 2017.

Sara Lomri, RF’s solicitor and PLP’s Deputy Legal Director, commented that:

"My client is a vulnerable individual, who, though suffering significant mental health difficulties, is bringing this important challenge as the new rules will have a significant negative impact on not only her life,  but on the lives of many with 'invisible' disabilities.  She has told me that losing enhanced PIP for mobility means she will not be able to get the support she needs to travel.  This will have a huge impact on her ability to participate in society.

My client does not understand why people with mental health problems are being singled out and excluded from a benefit which is supposed to help them.  This case is about trying to make the PIP system fairer for all those with mental health problems such as schizophrenia, PTSD, agoraphobia and clinical depression and other debilitating conditions.”

NOTE TO EDITORS: 

The ‘rolled-up’ permission and substantive hearing will be held in the High Court, RCJ, London on 12 and 13 December.  There is an anonymity order in place protecting the Claimant. Further enquiries should be made to o.persey@publiclawproject.org.uk

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