Chronic Pain & the PIP Mobility Component

I see a lot of posts and people talking about people who “won’t get PIP” over the course of a day. One example often used is the person who can drag themselves with lots of pain & exhaustion for a few metres on a good day (however rare they are) before needing to use a wheelchair who will lose their higher rate DLA.

Messages like that cause a lot of worry for many people who are reading them. They are scary. They make me worry I’ve missed something when I read them. Over the last month I’ve been told by plenty of people that they believe conditions that often fluctuate or allow for limited mobility before needing to use a wheelchair like arthritis, EDS and fibromyalgia won’t qualify for the higher rate PIP mobility component. Having just read the new DWP guidance I really don’t believe that is true.

Hopefully this little bit of news can go a little way to easing some of those worries. When “safely, reliably & in a timely manner” are taken into account suddenly it becomes quite clear that the criteria isn’t meant to be that harsh.

Example 1

Phil has long term problems with rheumatoid arthritis and has very limited walking abilities. He needs a wheelchair for more than 50% of the days when outdoors and can only walk a few metres before being in pain and discomfort. He is assessed as 

 “Can move or stand 1m but not more than 20m, either aided or unaided”

 and scores 12 points on the assessment. He is therefore awarded enhanced rate mobility component.

I am well aware that everything depends on how this guidance is used by assessors but even so, this example will be a powerful tool when appealing decisions. This isn’t a defence of the abolition of DLA or the founding principles of PIP. Just an attempt to reassure some of the very distressed people I’ve spoken to.

  1. Thank you this is really helpful.


  2. This example clearly states that the person can only walk a few steps. And yes, such people will clearly qualify, as will people with fluctuating conditions. This is also clearly stated in the PIP regulations.

    The main problem comes for those people who can reliably walk more than 20m but less than 50.
    At the moment it is highly unclear as to whether such a person will qualify for higher rate or not.
    Esther McVey insists whenever talking to the press that they will.
    DWP officials regularly insist that they will not. (I have written to both and had conflicting responses).

    Someone who can walk 20m is someone who can walk around their house, round their garden, along the path, down their driveway etc without too much difficulty. However if they were to walk down the street they would not reach 50m (or at least not reliably, safely and in a timely manner). Such a person would need to use a wheelchair when going outside for any length of time.

    What we really urgently need is some clarification.
    If they are not entitled to enhanced mobility PIP, then we need to know and we need to try and get that changed.
    If they are entitled to it then we also need to know so that we can start reassuring people.
    This state of confusion really doesn't help anyone and simply causes more fear than is necessary.


  3. I totally agree, they could do do and could have done a hell of a lot more to explain things. Most of the fear around PIP is of the DWPs making given the last second changes & the helpful decisions to just leave things out.

    I'm not trying to say that people with chronic pain conditions have nothing to worry about. Just trying to clarify for all those people who post up on social media statements like “I can walk 50m but am in pain & discomfort from 1m – I won't get PIP” or “because I only use a wheelchair outdoors 2/3rds of the time, even though I'm in constant pain, I won't get PIP” and actually, that's not the case.

    I worry that there is a lot of confused information going about, some of which is actively scaring the few who don't need to be scared. Now, I blame the DWP for that, but I think we need to do what we can to reassure where we can x


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