Why mobility payments really matter

8 July 2014

Rosanna Singlerby Rosanna Singler

Today an important court case is beginning on the Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Steven Sumpter is one of a group of people who are fighting the government’s decision to change the way that people are tested for this payment. They argue that the government did not consult properly on this change and did not consider the devastating effect the change would have on disabled people.

PIP is a new payment which helps some of the extra costs caused by long-term ill health or a disability. Previously, if you could walk 50 metres or less you would receive the highest amount possible for the ‘mobility component’ of the payment, to help pay for things like taxis or powered wheelchairs. Under PIP, the test has got tougher: if you can walk more than 20 metres then you will only get a lower rate.

Like Steven, we are desperately concerned about the impact of this new measure. We successfully campaigned to keep the old mobility component for people living in residential care. We argued that people living in homes with care still need money to travel, just like people living elsewhere. What are people who can only walk 30 or 40 metres meant to do when they lose this money? Most people will no more be able to get to shops, public transport or the high street if they can walk 40 metres than if they can walk 20.

And importantly, you have to be on the higher rate if you want to rent a car, motorised scooter or powered wheelchair through Motability. For many disabled people this is a lifeline as their condition means they are unable to use buses and trains.

I recently spoke to someone who told me that without her car she would be permanently housebound, with no means of getting out. She said her life wouldn’t be worth living.

Some people have told us they would not be able to make it to vital hospital and doctor’s appointments without this money  Others are worried that losing their Motability car would mean having to give up their jobs, which contradicts the focus on getting disabled people into work.

The court case against the government’s changes to PIP begins on 9 July and is expected to last two days, with a decision at a later date. We will be watching the result of this court case closely. If it rules in favour of Steven and the other claimants it could mean the government has to rethink the new test, meaning that hundreds of thousands of disabled people will not have to lose the vital support they need to live independently.

Find out how you can show your support for the case.

Rosanna Singler is Leonard Cheshire Disability’s policy officer.


I am disabled and live in rural Lincolnshire, my treatment for Cancer is ongoing and I travel to Notts 130 mile round trip, Lincoln 70 mile round trip and Boston 15 mile round trip plus many other clinics on a regular basis, if I don't get higher rate, then these trips would be done by ambulance or minicab, what costs would this incur I wonder?

Hi Ronald, you make a very good point. This is why we have been campaigning against these changes - not only are they unfair to people who need this extra money to travel, they incur extra costs elsewhere.

This is such an important issue, not just for people who are in receipt of DLA no, but for people in the future. The Motability scheme and the extra money made my life so much easier and improved my quality of life. It would be a tragedy to plunge me back into the difficult and sometimes impossible situation I had before being awarded DLA. I am in the process of changing my pension into cash so that, if the worst happens and they reduce or remove my award, I will be able to afford another car. This will severely impact my income when I retire but I don't suppose the DWP have the ability to think that far forward

Hi Jan,

It would be awful if you have to dip into money to pay for your retirement. I hope that you do get to keep on the Motability scheme. We will continue to campaign against these changes so no one who needs this money loses out.


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