The High Court has found that part of the rules governing disability benefits discriminate against people with mental health problems and breach human rights obligations.
This landmark case - RF v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions - ruled that the amendment to Personal Independence Payment (PIP) earlier this year introduced regulations that ‘cannot be objectively justified’.
Revolving Doors Agency submitted evidence in support of RF and worked with the Public Law Project who brought the case on her behalf, and we welcome the decision.
PIP was introduced in 2013 as a replacement for the Disability Living Allowance and eligibility is decided using a points-based system whereby points are assigned depending on the difficulties that a person experiences in carrying out specific activities. The 2017 changes to PIP prevented thousands of people who cannot plan and follow a journey due to psychological distress from qualifying for higher rates of this benefits, or even qualifying at all. The Government’s own Equality Impact assessment stated that the changes will prevent 143,000 from the current PIP caseload from qualifying at all.
The court heard that the Regulations were laid by negative resolution, received little parliamentary attention and were rushed through the parliamentary process by the Secretary of State without reference to checks by relevant committees, concluding that their introduction was ‘manifestly without reasonable foundation’.'Mr Justice Mostyn emphasised that the desire to save money and increase cost-effectiveness could not justify such a discriminatory measure.