November 08, 2017
New changes have been made to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that could make it easier for people with M.E./CFS to claim the benefit.
Describing the changes, our Welfare Benefits Advisor said: "The Government has recently updated the PIP guidance for decision makers after a legal judgment from an Upper Tribunal. The Tribunals decision centred on an individual’s ability to ‘safely’ perform a PIP activity.
"When assessing whether someone meets the PIP criteria, consideration should be given to whether or not they can perform an activity ‘safely’. If you cannot ‘safely’ perform an activity, you should score points.
"The recent decision held that in assessing the risk of harm occurring whilst performing one of the PIP activities, the severity of the harm should be considered alongside the likelihood of the harm occurring.
"The old guidance used to hold that it should be ‘more likely than not’ that harm will occur however the new approach considers whether there is a real possibility of serious harm occurring and if so it should not be considered that an individual can ‘safely’ perform the task.
"It is most likely this judgement will affect people with conditions such as epilepsy which effect consciousness, therefore those with M.E. may not benefit from these changes unless they have other conditions affecting their safety.
"For those who will be affected by the judgement, the Government have estimated that approximately 10,000 claims will benefit by £70 - £90 per week in 2022/2023. The Government plan to go through all existing cases and identify anyone who may be entitled to more. They will then write to those people affected and all payments will be backdated to the date of the change in case law."
We run a free Welfare Advice and Support Service that offers free confidential advice on welfare benefits over the phone. The service is open from 10am to 12.30pm and 2pm to 5.30pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays, and from 2pm to 5pm on Fridays and can be accessed by calling 0800 138 6544 (this number is free to call from landlines and some mobile phone networks). Please note that we only have one welfare rights adviser so if you can't get through straight away, someone else is likely receiving help.