Last year, the Government changed the way that PIP (Personal Independence Payment) is assessed. The changes made it harder for people to get the PIP Mobility component if the reason they had difficulty planning or making a journey was that it caused overwhelming psychological distress.
    
Many autistic people find that making journeys can be very distressing, which can lead to people avoiding going out or being unable to make journeys. Our charity believed that this change discriminated against autistic people. We joined a legal case alongside other charities to try and overturn the changes.  The legal case was a success and you can read more about that here.
 
The Government decided not to appeal the judgment, but that means that they need to identify the people who may have missed out on getting the right support from PIP before the court case happened. To do this, the Government announced that it would review its records to find out who might be entitled to a higher PIP award.
  
Some autistic people were concerned about what this review would mean to them. We put their questions to the Government. Their answers are below:
 

What is the PIP Mobility element? 

PIP is a benefit that helps with the extra costs of having a long term health condition or disability. The payment isn’t affected by earnings, income or savings. The Mobility component is for people that need extra help in getting around. This includes planning a journey, following a route and travelling safely. Activities like these can cause severe psychological distress for some people with autism.  

What does the change mean?

The change means that more people are now entitled to a higher PIP award, if they experience psychological distress that is caused by planning or making journeys. This includes people who already receive PIP, as well as new applicants. If your award is increased, you will receive more money. The Government expect to start making these payments in the summer. 

What will happen in the review?

The Government are working to find out who will benefit from the court’s judgment.  Some people will be entitled to back payments. These payments will date back to the day of the judgement, 28 November 2016, not the start of your award. If you have been awarded PIP after the 28 November 2016, the back payments will start from the date of your award.
  
The review will also include people who have only been awarded the Daily Living component of PIP, as you could also be entitled to the Mobility component if planning or making journeys causes you anxiety or distress.
 
No one will need to attend face to face assessments and no one will have their award reduced.

Will it affect my existing PIP eligibility?

If you have been awarded PIP since 28 November 2016, you might be entitled to more support. You will be contacted by the Department of Work and Pensions. If you currently receive PIP, your award will not be reduced as part of this review.
   
If you made a claim for PIP Mobility component before 28 November 2016, but you were not found eligible you should make a new claim if planning or making a journey causes you anxiety or distress.   

Do I need to do anything?

No, the Department of Work and Pensions will be writing to everyone that they believe is affected by the change. However, the Government thinks that this may take until the summer.

No one will need to attend face to face assessments and no one will have their award reduced.

What if I have received my letter saying I have to reapply for PIP?

This review does not affect the duration of your PIP award. If you receive a letter telling you that you need to reapply, you will need to follow those instructions. You might be able to apply for PIP Mobility component too though.

What should I do if I need more advice or information?

For more guidance on what PIP is and how to claim it, click here. You can also contact our Helpline.