One of the most frightening threats to disabled people’s independence following the government’s welfare reforms has been the introduction of much tougher criteria for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) for those who have physical difficulties walking.

The previous benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) used a measure of 50 metres to decide whether people had severe difficulties walking and therefore needed the highest levels of support. This distance has now been changed to just 20 metres. People who struggle after 20 metres are therefore less likely to receive the benefit payments they need.

On Wednesday 9 July, the High Court in Birmingham will hear a legal challenge to the government’s rules.

The court case centres on disabled people being given no opportunity to provide their views on the 20 metre rule until summer 2013 once PIP had already been introduced.
The government then announced it was sticking with the rule despite overwhelming objections.

The government’s projections reveal that staggering numbers of disabled people who currently receive the highest rate mobility payments of DLA – 548,000 – will lose those payments when reassessed for PIP.

The Disability Benefits Consortium believes that the loss of these payments will have a devastating effect on many people’s lives and their ability to access and be part of their community.

The extra costs of getting out and about for those who have severe mobility problems can be huge.

Our Thunderclap is a way of highlighting the injustice of the rule and supporting those taking their case to the courts. We wish them every success.

9 thoughts on “Get behind the challenge to the “20 metre rule”

  1. Whether I can walk 20m is dependant on how my MS is affecting me. 85% of the time between my Tysabri infusions, which are every four weeks, my legs can’t make the 20m and the other 15% it isn’t easy. Even if I can just about make the 20m or 50m, for a few days after the infusion, it gets me nowhere only to other houses not to the shop, doctors or my MS nurse

  2. It seems to me that the government would like to lock away the disabled. It is a very Dickensian attitude they have. Why not bring back asylums or better still just euthenise us. Don’t you find it incorrigible that in trying to save money they pick on the weak and infirm. Shouldn’t they be chasing the people who believe we owe them everything and have never contributed towards a system that they rely on.My husband and myself have fifty years of work between us, we aren’t asking for something we haven’t already paid for.

  3. I am waiting for my pip assesment, i already get higher rate DLA and low rate care, on a good day i can walk 20 metres with a stick, on a bad day i can’t so where do i stand?

  4. Its disgusting I have ra and have pain in my feet all the time from when I get up till I go to bed.we who have long term illness have to struggle day in day out. Why do we keep getting penalised.

  5. I have MS and some days I can walk 20 metres with a stick or 2 even. and other days I can’t. Having a car is my Independance, as I can’t walk to bus stops from my house(which are only say about 150 meters from my front door) or even walk to the local shops. it’s not going to go away so that means I am gonna be housebound unless someone is kind enough to come pick me up to get out. I also suffer from arthritis which only compounds this. I hope the government will reconsider what they are doing to disabled people. what would the court of human rights think of this??

  6. I am in pain every single step I take everyday…but surely all you will do by doing this is to make us less mobile and more sick. I believe that to stay positive I must strive to try everyday. I need daylight, I live alone I have no one to take me out daily. I will become a prisoner in my own home for fear of someone seeing me walk more twenty metres on a good day…never pain free and often spend days bedridden after a little outing. Please stop this new ruling

  7. HMRC use 100 metres for disability tax credits! why the discrepancy between distances? some people can manage 20 metres on a good day but not on a bad day. Why change the rules unless its to make sure the figures claiming go down.

  8. What genuinely disabled people are being subjected to is nothing short of torture – both physical and mental – and as far as I am concerned this should be regarded as a criminal act by the Government. The time is way overdue when differentiation between genuine claimants and bone idle, lazy frauds should have been achieved and, as far as I am concerned, this makes the Government incompetent to the point of negligence.

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