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  • 23 January 2018
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    Motability and Mental Health

    The past 12 months have been a time filled with uncertainty for people with mental health disabilit...

The past 12 months have been a time filled with uncertainty for people with mental health disabilities who receive the PIP mobility award.

What’s been happening?

In March 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions announced that the new PIP Regulations would bar someone from receiving the enhanced PIP mobility rate if they could not follow the route of a familiar journey without another person unless it was “for reasons other than psychological distress”. This change in the PIP assessment came following two court rulings in 2016 on how benefits claims are scored; the Government felt that the combined effects of the rulings would have added £3.7billion to the benefits bill by 2023.

Secretary of State – “no lawful power”

However, a High Court decision in January 2018 found these changes to be unlawful as they discriminated against those with mental health disabilities, which goes against the Human Rights Act 1998. The Court even went onto to say that the Secretary of State did not have lawful power to make the Regulations, and he should have consulted before making them, because they went against the very purpose of what PIP set out to achieve. The judge stated that the decision to introduce the PIP Regulations was “manifestly without reasonable foundation” and that the desire to save money could not justify such an unreasonable measure. During the trial, the Secretary of State accepted that the testing carried out for PIP was limited and that it did not fully consider the basis for treating those with psychological distress differently.

164,000 people in line for increased benefits

This judgement, which Welfare Secretary Esther McVey had said she wold not challenge, means that up to 164,000 people are in line for an increased disability benefits meaning that they can qualify for the enhanced PIP mobility payment. Those people who have been affected will written to and payments will be backdated to the effective date in each individual claim.

Public transport can present many challenges for people with hidden disabilities. This is where the Motability Scheme can help.

What does this mean for people with a mental health disability?

Many people with a mental health condition rely on PIP to support them to live and travel independently. For example, cognitive impairments such as dementia or Down’s Syndrome, developmental disorders such as Autism or ADHD, sufferers of psychosomatic pain or someone with chronic fatigue syndrome would find it challenging in getting around. Symptoms from such conditions such as anxiety, memory problems, inability to process and retain information, pain and balance problems can make getting public transport difficult. That’s why the Motability Scheme makes travel much easier and makes independent travel much more accessible for both the person with the condition and their carers and families. The Scheme aims to help those with limited mobility and their families—regardless of their disability—by allowing them to use the enhanced PIP mobility allowance to lease a car. Many people think that the Scheme only provides adapted cars for physically disabled people, however the vast majority of leases are for standard cars without adaptations for people with non-physical disabilities. Studies and feedback from people on the Scheme have said that independent travel has benefitted them socially, physically and psychologically. It can help increase happiness, manage stress and generally manage health.

Motability at West Way

West Way is the UK’s largest Nissan Motability provider. Our Motability Specialists have helped many people with a mental health disability open the doors to independence and freedom. We have a range of models available at Nil Advance payment – meaning no upfront payment for the car – so you can find the right car to suit your needs and support you to live and travel independently. Call our Motability Specialists at your nearest West Way dealership to arrange an appointment to talk through your options.

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