Transition from DLA to PIP sees nearly half of disabled people lose their mobility entitlement to a vehicle
Pressure is mounting on the government to halt the introduction of Personal Independence Payments (PIP) after it was revealed more than 50,000 disabled people have had their mobility vehicles taken away.
Figures from the charity Motability, which manages specially adapted cars for disabled people, show 51,000 people have been taken off the scheme after a reassessment as part of the PIP system since 2013 – representing nearly half of all eligible claimants.
MPs and campaigners have already called for changes to PIP after a series of issues have cut disabled people's benefits and entitlements, many of which are reinstated on appeal.
DWP figures show that since PIP launched, more than 160,000 people have had their original rejection overturned at mandatory reconsideration or at appeal.
Some 65% of decisions are now overturned at tribunal in the claimant's favour, according to the latest Ministry of Justice statistics.
Thousands of people are being denied Motability, though, as they transfer over from disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP.
The number of people eligible for Motability funding has halved during the reassessment process since PIP launched in 2013, according to Muscular Dystrophy UK.
It said 900 cars are now being taken away every week, as more people are rejected for PIP.
Nic Bungay, director of campaigns, care and information at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said: “Each of the 51,000 vehicles being taken away is a story about a disabled person's independence being compromised.
“This is having a devastating effect on quality of life.
“The fact that two-thirds of people who contest their PIP award win their case shows that the system isn't working and is in urgent need of reform.”
Genevieve Edwards, director of external affairs at the MS Society, said:
“We know of too many cases where people have gone through the stress and anxiety of having their Motability cars taken away, only to have them returned after appeal.
“We believe more than a thousand people with MS have already had their mobility support downgraded since PIP started to replace DLA, and up to 10,000 more could lose out.
“Eligibility criteria for mobility support under PIP are more strict compared to DLA.
“These changes were introduced with no evidence to show why criteria should be limited in this way.
This is having a devastating effect on quality of life Nick Bungay
“These changes must be reversed to reflect the barriers people with MS face. Having a disability like MS is hard enough; it shouldn’t be made harder by a benefits system that doesn’t make sense.”
A DWP spokeswoman said: “The reality is that, since PIP was introduced in 2013, more than two million decisions have been made; of these just 7% have been appealed and 3% have been overturned.
“But we constantly review our processes, to make sure they are working in the best way possible.
“Most people leaving the Motability scheme are eligible for a one-off payment of £2,000 to meet their needs.”