CPIP/1998/2017 Visual Impairment
The Upper Tribunal recently made a decision (CPIP/1998/2017) that makes it much easier for severely visually impaired or blind claimants to receive the enhanced rate of mobility for PIP.
The claimant had many severe vision issues which affected him out of doors. He said in his claim form that he could navigate a ‘particularly familiar’ journey on his own, but that he encountered issues like tripping over kerbs and walking into objects, particularly in certain light conditions. He was awarded nothing by the DWP but a Tribunal awarded him 10 points under PIP mobility descriptor 1(d), ie 'for reasons other than psychological distress cannot follow the route of an unfamiliar journey without another person, an assistance dog or an orientation aid'. The claimant appealed, saying that while he could navigate a familiar journey, he could not do so safely.
WHAT THE UPPER TRIBUNAL DECIDED
The Upper Tribunal agreed with the claimant and awarded him 12 points under PIP mobility descriptor 1(f) because he could not safely follow the route of even a familiar journey. The UT also stressed that the DWP and Tribunals had to fully consider not just whether a claimant can do something, but whether he can do safely. The UT stressed that issues like the effect of lighting conditions, traffic and unexpected obstacles had to be considered. (The safety test for PIP set out by the UT is whether, taking into account both the likelihood of a risk and the potential consequences, there is a real risk to the person’s safety which cannot be ignored.)
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?
It is now pretty much guaranteed that people with SEVERE visual impairments which prevent them from moving about outdoors safely will always be awarded the enhanced rate of PIP mobility.
The Upper Tribunal made this decision on 22 November 2017 but it’s a clarification of the law rather than a new definition. This means that this decision applies straightaway to all claims, mandatory reconsiderations and appeals.
This analysis is brought to you free of charge by BuDS Benefit Information Team. It is only general information and you should take advice on your own case.
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You can read the full judgement here: https://www.gov.uk/…/ks-v-secretary-of-state-for-work-and-p…
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