The Disability Minister has announced that she feels that there are potentially 10,000 beneficiaries resulting from the Upper Tribunal’s decision to update the definition of “safely” in the PIP regulations.
The DWP had been arguing that for anyone to be considered to be unable to carry out an activity “safely” there would have to be a more likely than not chance of harm occurring. However, the Upper Tribunal decided the correct test is the degree of harm that could happen.
For example, the odds of a fire starting when a deaf person is in the shower without their hearing technology in place are long, but if it did happen the consequences are very severe. What would anyone think if a deaf claimant had been left without supervision or an adapted alarm and was killed or injured in a fire? That is the correct test.
This principle now applies across all the PIP activities and descriptors. So, for example, what are the chances of a claimant prone to sudden fits having one at exactly the point they are holding a pan full of hot water or crossing the road? Fairly remote, but in both cases the consequences are severe so it’s arguable that such a claimant could not cook or follow a journey “safely”.
Or what about a claimant with a learning disability and / or autism who struggles with communication? Can they communicate “safely” when they could be at risk of attack for communicating in a manner mainstream society finds inappropriate?
You’ll gather from this why I believe the Disability Minister’s estimate is far too low.