Disability: There is no 20-metre rule, says minister

Baroness Altmann

Baroness Altmann

Most readers of my blog will know that I have a disability, namely multiple sclerosis, that causes significant mobility issues. This means that I need to use a wheelchair to move more than 15 metres; and that’s on a good day. As such I receive Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

For everyone who lives in the United States, or anywhere else outside the UK, I need to explain that everyone who receives the UK’s DLA mobility component at the highest rate has been able to use it to have a Motability car instead. This is their own choice of car from the list of vehicles available from the Motability organisation. The car is provided absolutely new and complete with insurance, servicing, tyres, windscreen – in fact, everything except fuel.

With DLA now being replaced by Personal Independence Payment (PIP), the same arrangements remain in place. Well, the same except that the requirements to qualify for the highest rate mobility payment have been changed. It is now more difficult to obtain the highest level.

According to the government’s own figures, this will lead to some than 428,000 people having to return their Motability cars as they are reassessed for PIP and not given the top rate of mobility component.

The key change to the eligibility to that mobility payment is that while the DLA assessment said that anyone who was unable to walk 50 metres was entitled to the highest rate, under PIP that distance is now reduced to just 20 metres.

Disability Rights UK (DRUK) and the Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), among other organisations, have criticised the new 20 metre restriction as being arbitrary and unfair, saying the 50 metre assessment was a well-established and research-based measure of significant mobility impairment.

Confusion still reigns on this contentious point, however.

Despite contrary experiences of many DLA recipients when they have been reassessed for PIP, Baroness Altmann, minister of state for the department for work and pensions, speaking in the House of Lords on May 4, said: “I would like to clarify what appears to be a widespread misconception regarding the differences between the mobility assessment in PIP and the mobility assessment in DLA.

“Many noble Lords have spoken of a ‘20-metre rule’, but there is no such rule. Some people believe that we have changed the assessment of a distance a claimant is able to walk from 50 metres to 20 metres. This is not the case. The higher rate of DLA was always intended to be for claimants who were unable, or virtually unable, to walk. This is still the case in PIP, but we have gone further.

“Under PIP, if a claimant cannot walk up to 20 metres safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely manner, they are guaranteed to receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component. If a claimant cannot walk up to 50 metres safely, reliably, repeatedly and in a timely manner, then they are guaranteed to receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component.”

As a result of that debate, officials from the DWP are to meet with representatives of both DRUK and DBC, It will be interesting to see the results of those discussions.





16 thoughts on “Disability: There is no 20-metre rule, says minister

  1. My son now aged 31 has DLA for life from being a child because of his severe learning difficulties. How is the new PIP going to affect him? He can be a nightmare when walking as he has no sense of danger in fact he has been knocked down 3 times, and is very reluctant to get on a bus. What will I do if his car is taken away from him? He will be more or less housebound.


    • This ruling does not affect him. In fact PIP mobility has (allegedly) been made easier to get for those who require it for reasons other than physical disability.

      There are 2 sections to the assessment for PIP mobility. One is “moving around”, which looks at purely physical difficulties and is where the 20m rule applies.
      The other is “planning and following a journey”. This should cover people like your son who require help and assistance when out and about.
      I hope your son retains the help he requires when the time comes to transfer to PIP.


  2. I cannot walk, sit, drive, lie down without constant pain from inflammatory arthritis, and primary lymphodema. I am in heart failure and suffer with chronic depression. I live in constant fear, am suffering terrible anxiety – all because I know my lifetime DLA is going to end and I will have to apply for PIP.of course I know I will have to undergo a probably biased towards fail assessment, which will probably will result in a negative outcome. Of course I will be made to feel like a liar and a cheat and have to endure months of appeals and a tribunal. Am I strong enough to withstand this? No, my health is fragile. My car will be taken from me leaving me completely housebound and reliant on taxis and relatives. No independence at all. How is it right in a civilised country that I live in very real fear and misery with all this coming my way? Please enlighten me.


    • It isn’t right. You need to stay strong and make the best case you can. Don’t be afraid to seek help in completing the PIP application.


      • Hi Jane , try not to despair , Ive just done my ESA form and sent it off to get my zero points! If you need help with your forms , go to http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk It is run by barristers and guides you through each question on your form step by step. I strongly advise you to have a look. It costs nothing to become a member and receive news letters , etc , but it costs less than £20 to be able to access all the valuble information you need to know to answer the twisted questions and it also tells you what questions are worth what points. If you need to appeal , it guides you through that too. They point out where the traps are in your questionaire and how to answer them correctly. They help on all different benefits i.e PIP ESA Sanctions JSA HOUSING BENEFIT etc etc. I strongly advise anyone reading this , do yourself a favour and have a look at that website…..What do you have to lose ? Good look to everyone suffering more because of this shameful government. I pray that justice will prevail for all of us.


  3. Hey, Spoony, how are you doing?

    The minister is wrong. Descriptor 2 mob PIP says up to 50 metres gets max 10 points. You need 12 for enhanced. The minister is uneducated.


  4. In that case i do not understand how the DWP can justify my having to give up my car and my independence. I CANNIT walk 20 meters repeatedly or safely or in a timely manner. The DWP have blatantly ignored what their assessor saw and refused to budge on their decision so where does this woman get that people are “guaranteed” enhanced rate of PIP mobility. That is an outright untruth. She like other ministers ought to be taken to the court of Human Rights. I am ashamd to be British. It is a disgrace soending 22 MILLION POUNDS of taxpayers money fir reoresentatives to represent tge government at Tribunals that should NEVER have taken lplace in the first place. These ministers MUST be help accountable. Tge average joe bloggs woukd get imprisoned for criminal acts yet tge government committ hundreds per day and have got away with corporate manslaughter the amount of oeople who have committed suicide because of this haranguing of disabled people


    • Hi Susan , please visit this website http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk . This website is nothing to do with the DWP. As ive explained in a previous post last night , it is run by barristers who know what they are talking about and are on your side. It has a forum for you to be able to ask questions and one of the moderators will give you all the advice that you need from filling in your forms , preparing for a medical if you need to have one , and also guiding you through the process appeal if you are unfortunate enough to have to go that far. Apparently there are different clauses that the ordinary joe bloggs dont know about that put you in good steadfast with your claim. These people will be with you every step of the way in helping you fight your corner. I forgot to mention on my last post about the membership fee…. I think I paid £16 or £17 a few weeks ago which enables me to access ALL the information and help that I needed to fill the form in , BUT please bear in mind that the subscription that you pay lasts for a year and you can access it as much as you need to. Basic membership is free but you cannot access all the help you need. I urge you to go and have a look , it costs nothing to have a look , you have nothing to lose and everything to gain. They know all the loop holes. I strongly advise you , Susan , go have a look as it may be your chance to get your independence back thats been unlawfully snatched away from you. You are giving yourself the best chance possible by visiting that website. Stay strong (I know its hard) , and I wish you well for the future. x


  5. Thank you, I am trying not to panic but my terrible experiences to get ESA and DLA will haunt me for life. I ended up having to have counselling and hefty medication, I still have awful depression and anxiety and am treated with medication and group therapy. I am so bitter and angry at mine and thousands of others treatment that it’s making my physical health very much worse. I will look and try to get help from these people you’ve mentioned. ?


    • Aww Jane , Im so sorry for the distress this is causing you and the thousands of others including myself. My health problemms are degeneration/arthritis of the spine (need to have 2 spinal fusions in lower spine) , arthritis and prolapsed disc in neck(need to have fusion in neck), arthritis in left shoulder , post traumatic x2 , short term memory problem from car accident , depression , anxiety and debilitating migraines. If theres anything that I wish for is to be able to turn the clock back before these problems started , but I cant. And Im with you when you said about being bitter how we are all being treated , herded like sheep to the slaughter and treated like we are the scum of society. The last time I heard of such treatment to humanity , went down in history in World War 2….Hitler and the Jews ! We must all stick together and support each other as best we can until justice prevails. On a lighter note , I want to try and raise a smile to all you guys and girls reading this…..Back in the early 1970s when I was a young girl , I remember my mum boiling a pigs head on top of the rayburn…..At least she was more productive with her pigs head than David Cameron was with his !!!!!!! 😉 Remember what/who we’ve got leading this country , and may this be the reason to stay strong and fight. x


  6. “Can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres” this descriptor carries 10 points to qualify for the enhanced rate of mobility you need 12 points. You do the math


  7. I have been on mobility for nearly 14 years I have rheumatoid arthritis all over my body fybromyalica raynourd in hands and feet mental health problem clinical depression lupus over lap to top it all now have to cope with copd so I just about ready to want to die I went to assessment myself I got a lift the doctor gave me diazipan to help me . I got reply they have taken my mobility of me now standard I phoned to appeal as not so good at understanding my daughter was there listening the man said the reason I got refused was because I was capable of making decisions on my own ie I could phone doctor if I knew how to get to bank.I’d no how to get there so I apologised as I didn’t understand but I thought mobility was about how to actually get there as most of the time I’m house bound so I depend on getting others to help me I can’t walk far I get breathless plus my bones give way it’s a nightmare . also because I was speaking to the lady who assessing me said I was relaxed etc I was on diazipan plus all my other pills I’m so depressed I have no support I need help x Deirdre Rutherford


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