UPDATE: The PIP saga rumbles on with the Government now committed to reviewing 1.6 million claims at a cost of £3.7 Billion by 2023. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-42862904
It seems to have gone somewhat unnoticed but the much-maligned Personal Independence Payment (PIP) has lost a significant case at the High Court over mental health issues. On the 19th of January they finally accepted the judgement and will not appeal. The case was brought against the Government by the Pubic Law Project because regulations in PIP limited the amount of support the mentally ill can get for travel support. The High Court ruled that these regulations were “blatantly discriminatory”.
At appa we look upon PIP with some caution, with it’s claims to simplify and make more efficient the support of people with disabilities and mental health issues. The old system was not necessarily the right tool of the job. It was cumbersome, hard to use and wasted lots of money.
PIP however it seems is barely an improvement, but is some improvement better than none?
PIP as far as we’ve experienced, is being used as a tool to deny people help through government support. In court it was shown that expert opinion was heavily against the reasons given for the cuts in travel support. The Government was not being objective, it had not taken and used the best available advice on mental health. Or worse, it had and decided to ignore the best advice in favour of cutting funding.
Last year Prince Harry opened his heart about the mental health effects of losing his mother. The government stated that it wanted to give mental health issues equal regard to physical disability. And before that former prime minister David Cameron pledged “a revolution in mental health treatment”. In the meantime, the Government was cutting funding from people with poor mental health. Possibly while they were trying to travel to an awful disability assessment interview.
Ultimately there seems to be a direct link to another fad passing through social media, the government wanted to be seen to be acting. This judgement by the High Court shows that there is little objectivity in their decisions. Little in the way of accepting basic facts of human or disability rights, access or justice. The very principles that define why disability support should exist in the first place.
There is still time to steer this ship to a more favourable port, lets hope they use this as an opportunity to make things better.