I am preparing for a PIP tribunal appeal, and need to have a legal defence prepared for some absurd possibilities.
I am waiting for my appeal tribunal to contest a PIP benefit decision, waiting since February. As part of the decision I am appealing, they downgraded my mobility component which meant I was no longer eligible for a vehicle from the Motability scheme.
As part of my discussions with my appeals advisor, she told me about cases where people had lost their appeal to regain the ‘enhanced mobility’ component BECAUSE they could drive a car. (To be brief incase you need clarity, Enhanced rates mean that one cannot walk over 20 meters repeatedly, reliably, with in a reasonable time, and safely.) The reasoning, I’m told, that some tribunal judges decide this is because they say it takes a reasonable amount of physical competence to drive a car. I have been told that one person was told that as they were able to operate the pedals of a car, she was able to walk more than 20 meters.
All of this seems to me to be utterly absurd. In my case, the reason for being rejected by assessment was that “he lives alone and isn’t housebound as he goes out in the car regularly,” and on the daily living component that my grip strength was bought in to question [not trying hard enough / suboptimal effort] because “he drives a manual car.” (Notice it was the gear changing and not the steering.) I was incredulous.
So my hope is that somehow – with the help of an occupational therapist I can once and for all provide evidence to the tribunal that driving a car is not physically synonymous with being able to walk over 20 meters (repeatedly, reliably, with in a reasonable time, and safely…), that driving modern cars requires very little physical exertion (I argued that I could change gears with my little finger it was so light, to no avail) – I can put an end to this utter nonsense for myself and everyone else in a similar situation.
Some numbers. Very sad numbers. You can check all of these using search engines, and have multiple corroborating sources. [Edited from a post by S. K. Walker.]
27 – People shot dead in the Connecticut school shooting.
24,000 – number of people who died in the UK last winter because of ‘fuel poverty’.
– deaths per week (including suicides) among disabled people as a result of the government’s programme of Work Capability Assessments (WCAs), which is categorising people as fit for work when they are plainly not.(Many have expressed doubts over the veracity of this figure. They are DWP figures and widely accept as reliable and have been referred to in many House of Commons debates, a good benchmark. However, others wonder how we can compare this to the general death rate. In reply I offer that, the year previously there were 52 deaths per week recorded, so this is a year on year increase. Now these deaths start to sound more serious, in my opinion.)500,000
(est.) – number of disabled people deliberately excluded from the reforms to DLA, to be called the Personal Independence Payment (PIP), as a cost-saving measure. So not receiving the extra mobility support and care allowances to carry on a normal life (many of these need this extra support to carry on working and “contributing to society” by paying tax etc etc.)
But that appears over-cautious. Yesterday, the Tory Minister for Disabled People, Esther McVey, told the House of Commons that, of the 560,000 people who will be assessed for the new benefit by 2015, 330,000 are expected to be excluded from the benefit. That’s an exclusion rate of 59%. 3.2 million people receive DLA, so if the same failure rate applies as they become due for reassessment, that means around 1.9 million disabled people who will lose crucial support. Using the same calculations as I applied to the 500,000 initially flagged to be excluded, it means almost a million people pushed below the poverty line.
(There is also another issue: how do the Government know the numbers before reassessment has even taken place? This sounds like another ‘forecasted mean’ that looks like a target, but “isn’t a target – OK?”…)
Factor that into the death rate from energy and food poverty, and you’re looking at a situation where the 24,000 deaths last winter will look like nothing compared to what we’re going to see, let alone the 30 innocent deaths in Connecticut.