DWP insanity: remove mobility cash from those who can’t walk outdoors!

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Iain Duncan Smith: cruel and insane disabled-bashing

Iain Duncan Smith and other government spokespersons have repeatedly claimed, with regard to the Department of Work and Pensions’ (DWP) planned changes to disability benefit, that the changes result from detailed consultations with disability campaigners and groups.

This is patent nonsense, and I read tonight about one of the DWP’s measures that couldn’t be a clearer demonstration of this government’s complete disregard for the wellbeing of disabled people, its complete lack of concern for or understanding of the realities of living with a disability, and its complete contempt for the ‘consultation’ process.

Let me make clear: I am not disabled (not yet, at least). But it doesn’t take a great deal of thought or sense to have at least some idea of the kind of challenges a disabled person faces, or the kind of support that he or she needs in order to live with a measure of dignity and independence.

Apparently, though, such thought and sense is beyond the wit – or more likely the interest – of Iain Duncan Smith and his party. In its response to a consultation (in other words, the DWP heard the concerns of interested parties and still thought the following made sense), the DWP clarified the following:

  • To score the required 12 points to get enhanced rate mobility for physical health problems, a claimant has to show that they are unable to move 20 metres even using aids and/or with assistance.
  • The basis for this distance is that “20 metres is considered to be the distance that a claimant is required to be able to walk in order to achieve a basic level of independence in the home such as the ability to move between rooms.” while

    50 metres is considered to be the distance that a claimant is required to be able to walk in order to achieve a basic level of independence such as the ability to get from a car park to the supermarket.

The enhanced mobility rate is the higher level of payment provided to those with the greatest difficulty walking – but, crucially, you have to receive the enhanced rate in order to qualify for the Motability scheme that allows you to purchase a vehicle (adapted if necessary) on special terms.

Now re-read those quotes from the DWP’s response. Yes, it says what you think it says:

If you’re disabled, you need to be able to walk at least 50m to be able even to get from the car park to a shop; but you probably won’t be able to get to the car-park in the first place, because if you can walk that far we’re going to take your enhanced-rate allowance – and therefore your access to an affordable vehicle – away from you. Even if you can’t walk that far, but can manage more than the 20m we think you need to get around indoors, we’ll still take it away.

However, if you can only walk far enough to get around the house and not far enough to even think about walking from a car-park to a shop – we’ll give you the enhanced allowance!

The cruelty and callousness of this government makes me want to spit. I hope it does the same to you, and that like me you’ll be writing to your MP, signing any petition on the matter that you hear about – and if necessary coming out onto the streets to demonstrate against the whole, callous, illogical, twisted mess of the changes that Duncan Smith and his DWP want to inflict on people who face enough challenges at the best of times.

Out with him and all of his ilk.

(If you can bear to read more, please take a look at the article I read earlier)


  1. Amazing to think that our own so called government is actually in my mind rapidly becoming an enemy of the state terrorising without justification large swathes of society.

  2. I dont for one minute disupte this governmet are crap and doing so much damage with all the cut and changes its head spinning – how ever in the pursuit of not falling into the trap of whipping up more fear than there laready is. I read the document yesterday, and went off on a hunt for how that has trnaslated in the regulations.

    Bearing in mind the document is a response to consultation, not a regulation or guidance doc – we havent seen guidance yet.

    I have written to my MP asking for urgent clarification, plus the Question was asked last night in the lords PIP debate – reply from Lord freud was categoric 20M rule is for outdoor distance only.

    colum 741

    of your no one has to take this as read in which case write to your MP and ask them to ask for urgent clarification.

    1. See my answer to your ‘PS’ – it’s not how they measure the 20m that’s the issue, it’s the fact they say themselves that 20m isn’t enough for any meaningful outdoor independence but are still taking away the enhancement (and the Motability entitlement that goes with it) if you can manage 20m. It doesn’t make sense – unless you don’t care about people and just have a pre-decided saving in mind.

      Which is exactly what Lord Freud said in the Hansard record you refer to – they know in advance how many people they’re going to ‘downgrade’.

  3. sorry a ps – the 20M rule is bad enough and will mean many lose out even with the reliably, repeatedly, timely and safely taken into account..how ever it is NOT an indoor measure only that the only bit i wanted to clarfiy 🙂

    1. I know. It’s not the ‘indoor-ness’ (for want of a better word I made one up!) of the measuring method – it’s the fact that even the DWP acknowledges that 20m is only adequate for indoor independence. Their own response says you need at least 50m of mobility to even get from your car to the supermarket, let alone from your house to a bus stop (since you no longer have the mobility enhancement to get a motability car).

      Yet even though they admit even 50m is only adequate if you have your own vehicle, they’re going to take away the enhanced mobility allowance and the associated access to the Motability scheme if you can walk 20m!

  4. The thing that makes my blood boil is the FACT that a lot of people who know the dirt tricks and smear campaigns by the likes of George Osborne against the sick and lame actually vote tory! In spite of the fact that they have relatives or indeed themselves are systematically being de-humanised by this conceited lot of old etonian ponces. These same old public school idiots are a far bigger strain on the state with their tax dodging accountants and bankster friends theirs is surely the greater crime against society than any un-employed or semi disabled person. All of their arguments fall to pieces at the first hurdle by the fact that “THERE ARE NO JOBS” or employers willig to hire the so called scroungers who hide behind curtains.

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