Request For Evidence – PIP: Mobility Criterion


On May 4, there was a debate in the House of Lords about discussions with Disability Rights UK and the Disability Benefits Consortium on identifying a mobility criterion in the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessment framework, which was led by Liberal Democrat Baroness Thomas.

Baroness Thomas of Winchester tabled a Motion to resolve in the House of Lords: 

“That this House calls on Her Majesty’s Government to hold urgent talks with Disability Rights UK and the Disability Benefits Consortium to identify a mobility criterion in the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) “moving around” assessment which is fairer than the current 20 metre distance, in the light of the impact on reassessed disabled claimants and the resulting large number of successful appeals.”

She said: Tabling a Motion is an unusual course to take, but I assure the House that there is nothing fatal about it. However, if it were to be agreed, it would send a powerful message that this House is very concerned about this particular government policy and is taking a constructive approach to seeing what can be done to help the situation.

Why am I so concerned about the “Moving around” section? Because the relevant walking distance test for PIP has been made much harder than the Disability Living Allowance (DLA) test, meaning that by the Government’s own estimate the number of people on enhanced or higher-rate mobility will go down from around 1 million people to 600,000 by 2018.

Some 400 to 500 Motability cars a week are now being handed back by disabled claimants whose condition may not have improved but who are losing not just their car but, in many cases, their independence. Under DLA, the walking distance was 50 metres, which was in the Department for Transport guidance on inclusive mobility. The new distance of 20 metres is just under two London bus lengths, and is unrecognised in any other setting. There is no evidence that it is a sensible distance for the test, and it is not used anywhere else by the Government.

So someone with a walking frame, say, who can just about manage 20 to 30 metres, will not usually qualify for PIP. I see the Minister even now sharpening her pencil to make a note reminding her to tell me that this is a travesty of the truth. No, I have not forgotten the reliability criteria, which were made statutory in the last Parliament—thanks, in fact, to the intervention of the Liberal Democrats. The full reliability criteria in the PIP guidance are that 20 metres must be able to be walked,

“safely … to an acceptable standard …repeatedly … and … in a reasonable time period”.

Baroness Thomas added: “To sum up, to be told that the bill for PIP is too high and must be cut by more than halving the walking distance test is a real slap in the face for thousands of disabled people, particularly those of working age with lifetime awards under DLA. Of course the bill is going up—because the disabled population is going up. The Government must have factored that into their calculations years ago. The last thing that anyone wants is for more and more disabled people to become socially isolated and totally reliant on other services for everything they need. A great deal of money could actually be saved by other government departments, such as health, social services, employment and transport, by making the PIP walking distance fairer. I beg to move.”

There were also some outstanding contributions made in this debate by Baroness Sherlock (Labour), Baroness Grey-Thompson (Cross Bench), Baroness Masham of Ilton (Cross Bench), Lord Low of Dalston (Cross Bench), Baroness Brinton (Liberal Democrat), Baroness Doocey (Lib Dem), Lord McKenzie of Luton (Labour), amongst others.

I recommend that you read the debate in full here: Personal Independence Payment: Mobility Criterion.

One very important issue raised in this debate was clarified in a statement made by The Minister of State, Department for Work and Pensions, Baroness Altmann (Conservative). She 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. [My bolding]

I can assure the noble Baroness, Lady Brinton, that if a claimant is in extreme pain, they will be assessed as not reliably able to walk that distance. The reliability criteria are a key protection for claimants.

It was after my department’s work with the noble Baroness and noble Lords in 2013 that we set out these terms, not just in guidance but in regulations, confirming our commitment to getting this right. If a claimant cannot walk up to 50 metres without such problems, they will still be entitled to the mobility component at the standard rate. If they cannot walk that distance reliably and in the other ways in which we have protected it, they will be entitled to the enhanced rate. Therefore, the enhanced mobility component of PIP goes to those people who are most severely impacted and who struggle to walk without difficulty.”

I co-run advice and support groups for disabled people, and have to say that the majority of accounts of experiences I witness from those going through the PIP assessment process do not tally with Baroness Altmann’s claims.

So, in light of these claims, which were made despite evidence presented during the debate to the contrary, Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is gathering further evidence, and she requests that anyone who can walk less then 50 metres and who has lost their PIP, please get in touch with her: Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson DBE – Email:

Picture courtesy of Robert Livingstone

49 thoughts on “Request For Evidence – PIP: Mobility Criterion

  1. I am one affected by the loss of my car. I informed the HA that i coukd not walk 20 metres repeatedly safely or in a timely manner. In fact i have to rest the following day if i have to go out at all. The DWP decision maker has ignored evidence. I have been reassessed by the same DWP decision maker twice who has also failed to take into account what she has been told and written evidence from my consultant who is medically trained.
    It is an utter disgrace that 150 million pounds has been given to motability to “help people by giving transitional payments” when they are forced to hand their cars back.

    At the rate cars are being handed back 400 to 500 PER WEEK this equates to 20 pounds per person x 400 or 500 times.
    It is utterly disgraceful. I am now going to a tribunal wasting more taxpayers money because the DWP have cut my mobility payment down

    Liked by 3 people

      1. I replied to your message on FB, copy and paste the email address into the “to” part of a new message on your own email account. The link on my blog opens up a microsoft outlook window, that appears at the bottom of your screen on the tool bar, but you have to set up an account using the set-up wizard thing that way, so first way outlined is easier.


  2. its a shame there was no one to stand up for the incapacity benefit claimants when they were migrated to ESA wrag
    as many of these claimants are just as disabled
    many thousands have lost virtually ALL of their benefits through this process

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Dreadful. They state that they will get the enhanced rate of PIP yet they will not as people are told they do not fit the criteria so their cars have to go as well as their PIP altogether.
    The government tell nothing but lies. I am terrified that I will have to go for an assessment when we move in the next few months. I cannot walk without my prosthetic leg and even with it on I am very unsteady and cannot walk 20m at all. I have a car on DLA high award for both care and mobility and would be completely housebound if the car had to go 😦
    I really feel for all of those who have lost their cars and their payments and can only say that writing to that “Baroness” Tammi Grey-Thompson asap!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I have lost my mobility vehicle due to the assessment and have tried to struggle on but have recently had a heart attack and I’m awaiting a double bypass……I can’t prove its related but you decide…………


    1. So sorry to hear this, Judi. Please get in touch with Tanni Grey-Thompson and let her know how this awful cut has affected you. She will use all the evidence she gathers to try and change things xx


  5. I have lost my dla on grounds of applying for pip . I have suffered for 35years of seizures due to blood pressure dropping which means I need someone with me incase of dangering myself or others . I have gone out in the community had seizures and nobody helped saw a difference with a carer in community with me that kept me safe now my dla has been stopped and unable to get pip as I do not meet the criteria now I have to suffer more. I am in the process of appealing but will also take this to the newspapers and even television if I have to . Why should anyone have their independence taken away from them . The people that have made this decision on people whom are ill and have problems of independence want to be named and shamed and for driving people to taking their lives . Its disgusting.


  6. I lost mobility due to walking unaided as I walk with my husband and use him as I find it embarrassing to use my sticks and I can plan a route in my car- I use sat nav if I go to places I don’t know.
    Walking I’m always falling over or bumping into people or walls etc but I’m demed able to walk.
    I have to talk morphine to ease the constant pain and my legs often give way but due to my own choice of not using AIds to help me walk I lost my high rate DLA when I was transferred to PIP.
    Being 40-38 at the time I’m too paranoid to use AIDS so only leave the house with my husband so I can hold on to him – I drive to work but I’m parked at the fromt entrance 20 meters rule is unfair and planning a route via sat nav not considered explanation was I’m coherent so Nill points but makes u think that if I’m unable to plan my journey as not coherent how do people pass their driving test and theory test and get mobility components awarded??


    1. Hi Tina , can appreciate where your coming from after same problems myself , it’s all a complete nonsense ! Also the 20 metre rule ???? Means the MAXIMUM distance you can go is. 10 metre’s or you could not get back ??? Where do they believe you only need to go 10 metres ??? Can’t even leave your home . Good luck .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. hi Tina, can i point out that you dont have to be able to drive to get mobility component. you might have to use taxis, need someone with you when you go out, use a mobility scooter(you dont have to have passed a test of any sort to drive one of those or an electric or self propelled wheelchair. mobility means lack of being mobile under your own steam,or deficiency in mobility .. i, e moving around. may not be your legs letting you down either. can be you a have breathing problems or pain in your back.
        can i also say, to everyone on here, you can get a disabled bus pass or,if elderly, a OAP bus pass for a disabled person. (the national one) both of which entitles you and a carer to free bus travel or half fare train travel within your region or, in the case of the natgional bus pass for elderly people, unlimited travel in england on most bus services( not in Blackpool i do know.. or didnt accept them last time i was there.. may do now for all i know though)now, IF we are not supposed to be able to walk mnore than 20 metres. which is less than 20 yards, when or how can we use those passes?


    2. If you are able to stand and move unaided for more than 20m but no more than 50m you should score 8 points which is the score you need for Standard Rate PIP. However, I would argue that using your husband to help you when walking means you are using him as an aid in lieu of walking sticks.

      (I don’t like using a walking stick or scooter, especially when out with my teenage son, but needs must!)

      The points for “Moving around” are:

      a. Can stand and then move more than 200 metres, either aided or unaided. 0 points.
      b. Can stand and then move more than 50 metres but no more than 200 metres, either aided or
      unaided. 4 points.
      c. Can stand and then move unaided more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. 8 points.
      d. Can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50
      metres. 10 points.
      e. Can stand and then move more than 1 metre but no more than 20 metres, either aided or
      unaided. 12 points.
      f. Cannot, either aided or unaided, –
      (i) stand; or
      (ii) move more than 1 metre. 12 points.


  7. I have emailed,I had enhanced mobility and half way through my award they said I needed a refresher,towards last year,the assessed came out,wasn’t really listening to what I was saying and then she was like oh dam I’ve deleted everythig,but it’s ok I remebered what I put,my reward came through I had not been awarded mobility at all,it stated I could walk more than 20 meters,which,most days I cannot and some I cannot walk at all,on constant pain killers and walk with AIDS or wheel chair,I’ve adapted my house to make my day to day living easier,down stairs bedroom/toilet.explined all this,awaiting to see a specialist for my knees and awaiting a foot operation,so asked for reconsideration and was awarded standard mobility,with my operation and such I have. It fight in me to take it further,I was hoping to get a mobility car so I didn’t have to rely on others but that’s out the window for now, as all money is needed for the house.


  8. This is dreadful for disabled people, the Government seem to keep changing the rules and making it harder to claim PIP,
    I have a disabled friend, and she has just received a questionair 40 pages long! that has to be sent in by 1st June, she doesn’t know how to answer some of the questions, thinking they may be trick one’s to catch people out.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’m afraid I simply don’t understand how this can be true ? On DLA you were awarded 12 points for being unable to WALK 50 yards and you qualified for Higher Rate Mobility .

    Under PIP , you have to be able to MOBILISE ( that means if you COULD use a manual wheelchair for that distance you fail ,note COULD rather than DO )

    If you pass that criteria then you are ONLY award 10 points still too few to qualify for Higher Rate Mobility

    Under the current wording and points awarded if you are bed bound but could plan a journey then you STILL don’t qualify for Higher RATE !!!


    1. Yep, hence the point of gathering evidence that shows that the statement from the Conservative peer is utter nonsense and those outlined principles are NOT being applied in the real world of PIP assessments


  10. I applied pip a few months ago I went for an assessment and the lady was so nice and I explained that I couldn’t walk more than 50 meters and because I walked about 28 meters unaided I only got 4 points I was dignoised with fibromalgalia and fitigue I can’t walk a lot because I’m in a lot of pain all over my body and all my joints stiffing up I am upset because this is the first time I applied and got refused I wrote them a letter to see if they can reconsider its not fair . I didn’t ask to be like this it just happened to me last year I struggle with house work and going shopping I have to sit and rest all the time because of the pain and stiffness they just don’t understand it’s a medical condition and no one wants to know about fibromalgalia because you look ok and because you can walk unaided I’m on a lot of pain relief for the pain but it doesn’t really work and I’m up most of the night with pain and restless legs and twitches in my arms I just want people to understand this and reconsider the 20 meters in the pip assessment is not fair . also if it’s wet or I’m having a bad day I’m mostly in bed to try and ease the pain so I think this should be dressed in parliament that fibromyalgia is a medical condition and it should go through as a disabled benifits because it’s not your fault this happens before I got this condition I used to walk everywhere and loved going out for the day ride a bike and go bowling but I can’t do this anymore . It’s not fair I wouldn’t like anybody to be like me in so much pain all the time I just want to hide and cry and stay in all the time but I can’t I need to try and do normal things


    1. The question has already been raised in Parliament several years ago.

      David Morris MP (Morecambe and Lunesdale, Conservative) asked the question:

      “To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has considered recognising fibromyalgia in the benefits system.”

      Maria Miller MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Disabled People), Work and Pensions; Basingstoke, Conservative) responded on 18 June with:

      “The Department recognises fibromyalgia as a potentially significantly disabling condition.

      Where a clinical diagnosis of fibromyalgia has been made, full account will be taken of its disabling effects in determining eligibility for benefits.”

      The FMAUK website says:

      “Department for Work & Pensions (DWP)

      Professor Aylward, on behalf of the DWP, reaffirmed that the DWP recognises fibromyalgia as a real and disabling condition, and not just something that is “all in the mind”. Even though the cause of fibromyalgia remains unclear, the important factor when deciding benefit claims is the effect the condition has on the individual. Medical Services doctors who assess people on behalf of the DWP are trained in disability assessment medicine; and the DWP is developing a training website for GPs, to raise their understanding of this specialised field.”


  11. i have just resently had my second pip review i was on enhance rate for mobility its been lowered to standed now even though i canot walk between 20and 50 metres without pain or having to stop because of my lung condition .im glad we no have someone fighting our corner .they have awarded it till 2018 but stated i may be called again for another assesment in 2017 .it trully beggers belife what the strain and pressure they put on people .i also suffer depresion and angsiaty .and diabetes .


  12. i have a good idea how it is for you Karen, my son has fibromyalgia. he bought an electic pedal bike couple of years ago. but as hes in a first floor flat (and cant get out of it as local housing say they dont recognise fibromyalgia and hes adequately housed.(even though he has to carry his bike downstairs before he can use it. which hes having real problems enough trying to get down them without the bike. walking a short distance to the local shop means hes stuck in for the next few days you in so much pain. painkillers dont take it off only dull it a little.. he is on ESA WRAG. and constantly being told he must look for work that he can do.What employer is going to take on someone who may be ok to work 1 in every 2-3 days only? if at all. he can barely do his washing up some days.


  13. My PIP award is standard mobility as they said I can mobilize 20m but no more than 50m (most of the time). So less than 50 is accepted. Does this mean I should get enhanced rather than standard? I cant make much sense of the above as how I read it under 20m ‘they are guaranteed to receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component’ AND under 50m ‘they are guaranteed to receive the enhanced rate of the mobility component’? Slightly confusing. And if I should be on enhanced, can I appeal my current award without losing it in the meantime? If so…how :S


  14. I have M.E. and have been refused PIP twice. I had to give up my beloved career in healthcare as I was a crisis point. I was so ashamed of not working i found myself a twelve hour a week position in retail. I have just had my ESA taken away as the DWP say I can get a second job. This will put me back to crisis point. Having ESA enables me to work but on my illness’s terms. The DWP either want me to lie on the sofa until I die or work a 70 hour week down a coalmine. This is the first time i havnt been able to work full time in 28 years…what a drain on society I must be.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. The email address supplied is incorrect. i just emailed it and got a message from mail delivery saying “technical details of permanent failure. the error was the other server returned was “invalid recipient” ” anyone got a different email for Tanni?


  16. I have fibromyalgia and chronic back issues..I got refused PIP had to go to tribunal last November, it took a whopping 72 weeks from when the paperwork was first submitted to tribunal…72 weeks!! and I won, was awarded standard care and nothing for mobility and only got it for 2 years, cos it took so long it runs out next month,
    I’m constantly fighting..I’ve had surgery on my legs and can’t walk far, having fibro feels like having blocks of concrete tied to my legs…
    thankfully at the tribunal the judge referred my family to the social services as she was worried about my parenting of my kids cos I sleep so much etc.
    I ended up being granted an adult care social worker who is an absolute godsend, she got me a fast OT assessment and loads of evidence that I didn’t have the strength to collect, she did it all for me so fingers crossed I’ll get some fairness this time..

    I’m very limited with walking, use a walking pole when out and I never can walk without pain, nor walk more than 20m without stopping.
    I’m on massive amounts of morphine (140mcg buprenorphine). And am severely anaemic, and have to use inhalers cos of breathing issues caused by morphine…knowing all this I still got refused…
    They also diddle us out of the toilet question, they compare a toilet to a chair and think cos you can get out of a chair ok then you can get off the loo without aids, yet as I pointed out at tribunal the average chair is 10cm higher than the average loo so cannot be comparable..I won points on that….

    I wonder when we’ll get a level playing field, cos I’m so sick if it all..


    1. It’s not going to happen until we get a change of government, I’m afraid. Very sorry to hear about the difficulties you’ve had getting the support that you need and that you are entitled to. Good luck with your reassessment, let us know how you are getting on.


  17. I have several chronic diseases including life threatening Addisons disease this cause me all sorts of problems and cause me huge anxiety as could have a crisis at any time and could die..I was getting PIP standard rate mobility as have had several falls due to weakness and vertigo and feel very unsteady on my feet..they called me in a year early and have taken it all away even though I explained that I am far worse than before and in pain on walking due to hips and feet as I have diabetes 2 and Pernicious Anaemia…I can barely get upstairs or go up steps its very painful and i can only do one at a time,,,I have appealed twice and am now going to a tribunal with a new letter form my doctor and also form the hospital Endocrinologist….the people assessing are not medically trained which is all wrong..he thought I looked ok well this is well know that they are hidden illnesses so they are ignorant and I had been to this office before so drove myself and he said I was ok as I went alone. I dont have a partner and live alone its ridiculous how does anyone drive with a mobility car then if they cant go anywhere alone that is the whole point of it all that we remain independent otherwise I shall be asking for a carer driver and someone to take me whenever I need to go out. I am at home most of the time because of it all.My ex partner used to take me to some conferences and I saw Tanni Grey Thompson as she was s speaker and very good so will try to e mail her!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Hi having had my husband thrown into the benefits system through no fault of his own following an RTA in December last year, he suffered life threatening/changing injuries and spent 21 weeks in hospital due to, a smashed shoulder, for which he underwent a reverse shoulder replacement surgery at 12 weeks, a severed femoral artery, which was grafted in emergency surgery along with a pelvic fixator for twelve weeks, he has been left with a malaligned pelvis which he is due to have assessed if found to be unstable he will require life threatening surgery, surgical fasciotomy which is still healing, no feeling in left leg due to massive nerve damage! Plus a list of further things. We then find that due to him being over 65 he isn’t entitled to Motability and most benefits! For someone who has worked hard all his life to be treated this way in his time of need, I find it deplorable!


    1. not sure but may get attendance allowance. go to your local CAB or if you have one in your area, welfare rights advice centre or law centre. they will tell you if there is anything else your husband can get.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. The Conservative Party largely consist of wealthy narcissistic personalities. Unless they ever experience being either disabled and financially dependant on people such as this kind of mindset, they will never be kind or helpful to the plight of such people. They are simply not going to change overnight into personalities with kindness, it is not in their interest, nor is it in their hard hearts to change. How anyone can support in voting for such a political party is behind me. The media also consists of wealthy donors to the Conservative Party, also unfortunately with the same mindsets eg: greed and self interest. I sometimes despair of the human race with such attitudes. We have had David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May, Iain Duncan Smith, Esther McVey, Lord Freud to name just a few, with no compassion towards the disabled/poorest in society. I should think sometimes when they are alone in bed at night with only their thoughts to keep them company – do they ever feel anything at all in the way of shame for their targets of nastiness in taking away vital funds from people who desperately need it? I doubt they do, they may even feel proud of being the instigators of worry for the thousands affected by their policies.


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