In March, we revealed that the number of people returning Motability vehicles has climbed to over 900 a week. This was according to worrying new data obtained from Motability.
Since then, we have been leading the campaign to change the rules so that people are allowed to keep their vehicles until their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) appeals have been heard.
Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Chief Executive, Robert Meadowcroft, has written to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions demanding urgent action. Read the letter here.
Today, our campaign has got national attention, with support from the national press, politicians, and our supporters.
Here are some of the key highlights:
The charity has been mentioned in a BBC News radio report that has been carried extensively on radio, including BBC Radio 2, Radio 4 and most England local radio. It has also been discussed on LBC/LBC News.
Labour former Work and Pensions Minister Angela Eagle
“What’s happening in the worst cases is from being mobile and being able to get out and about in a car, that’s been removed and this may mean people have had their ability to live their life at taken away, and some of them are left housebound.”
Conservative MP Peter Bone
“You need it for mobility purposes and maybe you use it for work, but because you lose your PIP award you lose the car at the same time.
“You appeal against the PIP award and ultimately the tribunal awards you back the PIP, but you’ve already lost the car and maybe your job because of it.
Mr Bone said the Government should let people keep their Motability cars until they have gone through the appeal process.
“The Government could quite easily put that right and it wouldn’t cost a significant amount of money at all.”
Maeve Sherlock – Labour Peer and shadow DWP Minister
Paul Wheelhouse – MSP for South Scotland (SNP)
Rachel Reeves – MP for Leeds West
Over 1300 signatures on David Gale’s petition
What is Motability?
The Motability scheme entitles disabled people to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair using part of their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) benefit.
They are specially adapted for the claimant’s individual needs.
What is the problem?
Thousands of people are being denied Motability as they transfer over from disability living allowance (DLA) to PIP.
The number of people eligible for Motability funding has halved during the reassessment process since PIP launched in 2013.
DWP figures show that since PIP launched, more than 160,000 people have had their original rejection overturned at mandatory reconsideration or at appeal.
Some 65 percent of decisions are now overturned at tribunal in the claimant’s favour, according to the latest Ministry of Justice statistics.
What do we think?
Nic Bungay, Director of campaigns, care and information at Muscular Dystrophy UK, said:
“Each of the 51,000 vehicles being taken away is a story about a disabled person’s independence being compromised.
“This is having a devastating effect on quality of life. The fact that two-thirds of people who contest their PIP award win their case shows that the system isn’t working and is in urgent need of reform.”
Ministers say the Motability charity provides a support package to those who no longer qualify for the scheme, including a £2,000 lump sum.
Plus, if an appeal is successful, PIP arrears are paid in full to the claimant and they can rejoin the Motability scheme immediately if they repay their transitional support money, or else within six months of the date they left the scheme.
In response to our campaign, a DWP spokeswoman said:
“The reality is that, since PIP was introduced in 2013, more than two million decisions have been made; of these just 7% have been appealed and 3% have been overturned.
“But we constantly review our processes, to make sure they are working in the best way possible.
“Most people leaving the Motability scheme are eligible for a one-off payment of £2,000 to meet their needs.”