I spoke to a lady this week who has recently been awarded Personal Independence Payment (PIP) - Standard Mobility and Enhanced Daily Living Tasks. She has previously received Disability Living Allowance (DLA) - Lower Rate Care and Higher Rate Mobility DLA. The extra money didn't matter to her, all she wanted was to keep her adapted Motability car, which of course she now faces losing. We are supporting this lady's mandatory reconsideration and possible appeal, but there is also an opportunity for Transitional Support, despite some serious questions being asked about the finances and governance of the Motability Scheme.
During oral evidence at the Work and Pensions Committee and Treasury Select Committee last week Declan O'Mahony, Director, Motability Charity said:
"To date we have seen about 175,000 of our current scheme customers go through the DWP’s reassessment process from DLA to PIP. In round numbers, 100,000 of those have retained higher-level mobility so, as far as the scheme is concerned, it is fine and they continue in the same place. Seventy-five thousand have lost higher rate mobility. They have either dropped to standard rate or to nil and, as a consequence, they have to leave the scheme. That 75,000 is the group of people to whom we are providing transitional support."
75'000 people, that's a lot of people facing a fight, which if unsuccessful, without transitional support have lost their life line to independence.
I wonder how long it will take for the NHS, Local Authority, Voluntary sector and Police services to see the long-term effect of the mental health issues that will result with the inevitable isolation, self-neglect and loneliness, lack of self-worth or value, reduced mobility and despair.
Just a reminder to advisers to be aware of the opportunity for mandatory reconsideration on a benefit decision, potential for transitional support through Motability and to us all of the hidden, knock on cost of changing the benefit system!