MSP calls for end to rule which penalises disabled people for walking one step more than 20 metres

Lothian Labour MSP Foysol Coudhury has appealed to the Scottish Government to remove a rule which cuts benefit payments to disabled people who can walk one step more than 20 metres.

By Ian Swanson
Saturday, 6th November 2021, 4:55 am
Updated Monday, 8th November 2021, 2:40 pm

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The 20-metre rule is part of the assessment for the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) administered by the UK Government Department for Work and Pensions.

But the payment will transition to Adult Disability Support (ADP), administered by the Scottish Government, from 2022.

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Charities including the MS Society Scotland are campaigning for the “baseless” rule to be scrapped and have warned that by retaining it, the Scottish Government risks “enshrining unfairness” in the new system.

During a debate in the Scottish Parliament, Mr Choudhury urged the government to change the eligibility criteria.

He said: “The Scottish Government are replacing PIP with ADP and as part of this new benefit, the government has largely replicated the PIP eligibility criteria, including retaining the 20-metre rule as part of the assessment criteria for ADP.

“A Citizens Advice Scotland Survey in 2021 found that a majority of bureaux advisers working to help people with disabilities navigate the social security system agree that the 20 metre rule should be extended to 50 metres.

"The 20-metre rule was introduced as part of the eligibility criteria to access Personal Independence Payment. Under the rule, if you can walk one step over 20 metres you cannot access the enhanced rate of mobility support.

“Fatigue, both physical and mental is one of the most debilitating symptoms of MS and other neurological conditions. The rule does not consider the severity of fatigue many will experience after walking 20 metres.

"Those claiming disability payments deserve dignity and respect. Scottish Labour would use all the powers we have here in Scotland to make sure that people have the support they need to participate fully in society."

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