From Benefits&Work - Jan 2017 "Dear Reader, It’s taken a few years, but the law has finally caught up with Benefits and Work. For once, however, that’s good news. Because it means many more claimants with mental health conditions may be able to get an award of the mobility component of PIP, even at the enhanced rate. PIP MOBILITY For years we’ve been advising members that DWP guidance about ‘Planning and following a journey’ was wrong – deliberately so – and was leading to incorrect assessments by health professionals and errors of law by decision makers. And for years we’ve been publishing a submission that members could download and include in their appeal papers, challenging the way that many claimants with mental health conditions were prevented from getting an award of the mobility component. Finally, after conflicting decisions from different judges, a panel of three upper tribunal judges was convened last year. The DWP continued to argue that anyone with a mental health condition who was ever able to go outdoors, even with someone with them, should score only 4 points and receive no award at all on that basis. But the tribunal weren’t having any of it. Last month they made a legally binding decision that claimants with conditions such as severe anxiety can qualify even for the enhanced rate of the mobility component, just on the basis of problems with ‘Planning and following a journey’, or ‘Going out’ as the PIP form terms it. Having read the judgement, we’re pleased to see that arguments that we put forward in our downloadable submission, and the very specific evidence we used to support them, have been included in the judgement. Though, oddly enough, we didn’t get an honourable mention . . . or, indeed, any mention at all. Still, we’ve set aside our crushed egos and updated our PIP claims and reviews guide to take account of the upper tribunal decision. Subscribers can download it now from the PIP page in the members only area. Bear in mind that our advice about how to complete the PIP2 ‘How your disability affects you’ form hasn’t changed. Only now we can say it’s the law, not just our opinion."
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 26, 2017 18:31:40 GMT
Unbelievable reaction to the recent judgement in the PIP case by the Tories. Here's how they see it....
What an absolute insult to Upper Tribunal Judges Rowland, Rowley and Hemingway and the lawyers involved for a Tory to simply it in the following manner....
"These tweaks are actually about rolling back some pretty bizarre decisions by tribunals that now mean benefits are being given to people who are taking pills at home, who suffer from anxiety"
The judgement given in MH v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (PIP)  UKUT 0531 (AAC) can be read here.
Far from being 'pretty bizarre' it's a very detailed judgement of 19 pages dealing with the cases of Mr H (dismissed), Mrs C (allowed and remitted for a rehearing) and Mrs D (allowed with Secretary of State's Appeal rejected and remitted for rehearing). It also looks at other judgements reached in the cases of
HL v SSWP (PIP)  UKUT 694 (AAC) Judge Ward
RC v SSWP  UKUT 386 Judge Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw Bt QC
DA v SSWP  UKUT 344 Judge Jacobs
NK v SSWP (PIP)  UKUT 146 (AAC).
Summary reached in each case
55. We accept that the First-tier Tribunal, having decided that in consequence of his agoraphobia, anxiety and depression Mr H was not able to undertake any journey so that descriptor 1e was satisfied, did not go on to consider the possibility of his satisfying 1f. However, Mr H does not suggest that he requires to be accompanied by another person when following the route of a journey for any reason other than overwhelming psychological distress. That is the reason that descriptor 1e was found satisfied. In those circumstances, for the reasons we have given above, Mr H could not have scored points under descriptor 1f and the First-tier Tribunal’s silence on the point is immaterial.
56. As to mobility activity 2, the First-tier Tribunal found (at paragraph 11 of its Statement of Reasons) that Mr H did not “suffer from any physical disabilities”. The retching was a physical manifestation of Mr H’s anxiety when attempting to venture out of doors. For the reasons that we have again given above, we are satisfied that such a physical symptom arising from the very mental health problem that caused him to score points under mobility activity 1e cannot be taken into account under mobility activity 2.
58. The claimant sought the standard rate of the mobility component on the ground that she scored 10 points under descriptor 1d. The First-tier Tribunal did not err in not taking into account its finding that she scored two points under daily living descriptor 9b but it misconstrued the scope of descriptor 1d when it said: “We did not think that the descriptor covers those who need someone with them in an unfamiliar place due to their anxiety.” Consequently, it did not make any finding as to whether Ms C required someone with her when following the route of an unfamiliar journey so as to avoid overwhelming psychological distress. We are therefore satisfied that it erred in law and we allow Ms C’s appeal. We remit the case because further findings are required. The new tribunal must undertake a complete reconsideration of the issues that are raised by the appeal and, subject to the tribunal’s discretion under section 12(8)(a) of the Social Security Act 1998, any other issues that merit consideration.
59. Mrs D’s appeal to the First-tier Tribunal was successful and she was awarded the enhanced rate of both components. The First-tier Tribunal explained that it preferred the approach taken by the Upper Tribunal in RC to that which had been taken in DA. On the facts as found by the tribunal, and on the basis of the reasons given above, we are of the view that there was no material error of law. It is clear, from the tribunal’s findings, that overwhelming
psychological distress would render Mrs D unable to follow the route of even a familiar journey if unaccompanied, and that she therefore satisfied descriptor 1f. Accordingly, we dismiss the Secretary of State’s appeal.
Seven highly eminent judges in the Upper Tribunal are seemingly less knowledgeable than one over opinionated Tory!
A far cry from popping a few pills due to a bit of anxiety!
Yes, I've heard it all over the news and that vicious George Freeman. What can be done about this, Nick? It's terrifying so many people in this situation. Can people with severe anxiety and agoraphobia still qualify for PIP under Daily Living if not mobility? Thanks
Post by nickd (Mylegal) on Feb 28, 2017 20:38:48 GMT
It's all a question of how it's challenged I'd say. Apparently they are already appealing the Upper Tribunal decision as well as forging ahead with the 'emergency' legislation, they really are a rule onto themselves. The ignorance around this is astounding, they simply don't get how debilitating MH conditions are. People should ensure they try and get claims decided free of the new legislation and yes I'd say to do so on not only mobility but daily living as well.
DLA changed immensely with case law over time.
The government is very clear it does not want the judiciary having a say. Their view is that Parliament makes the rules, bit perverse given recent events.
It's pure ideology and ignorance, the whole mental health debate needs to take a proper look at the real problems people face and ask how much of it was made worse by the DWP throwing people on to DLA in some cases. It's far more complicated than just 'a bit of anxiety and depression'. They realise so many claims are mental health related and want to reduce the importance. There's so much going on at the moment and so few people around in supportive roles to challenge them. The government's response is usual stock standard 'we're spending more money on disabled people than ever before', far too simplistic but people fall for it.
Indeed, Nick. A lot has happened since then with many petitions circulating and 30 charities asking DWP to rethink and also the Upper Tribunal are going to appeal again, I believe. But how do the government get away with it on the one hand talking about parity between physical and mental health and passing the Mental Health Discrimination Act and on the other just shafting people with mental health. I have written to my MP but she just copies and pastes but I carry on until she gives a more considered reply (which rarely happens). Just 'agree to disagree'. This is a Tory MP very local to you too!