The Solicitor - The FindLaw UK Life, Family and Workplace Law Blog

Disability benefits: Government faces legal challenge over changes to law

The Government is facing a legal challenge to its controversial change to the law on disability benefits, after a group of disabled people declared that the consultation on the changes to the rules was unlawful, reports The Independent.

Three activists have sought permission to seek a judicial review of the Government's decision to replace the Disability Living Allowance with the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that came into force this week.

The three claim that although the Government consulted properly on their initial proposals, the version of the policy that finally came into force was far more stringent, and was therefore significantly different from that proposed in the initial consultation.

The reforms have proved to be highly controversial, with Labour leader Ed Miliband describing the Government's attempts to link benefit taking with the recent and tragic Philpott case as 'nasty and divisive' politics.

"The right place for Mr Philpott is behind bars, but do you exploit the deaths of six children to try and make a political point about the welfare system, and at the same time say to people that this is somehow a common truth about people on benefits?"

The three people bringing the case are Kim Storr, Steven Sumpter and a third who is remaining anonymous.

They will be represented by solicitor Rosa Curling, of Leigh Day & Co, who said of the case: "Removing this vital benefit to disabled people will have a devastating effect on many people's lives and their ability to access and be part of our communities."

The new rules will disbar anyone who can walk 20m repeatedly from claiming the top rate of disability benefits. The three are arguing that in consultation this figure was set at 50m and was later changed by ministers once the consultation had finished.

The legal action is seeking a judicial review to have the legislation struck down, which would force the Government back to the drawing board if successful.

Source:

Ed Miliband attacks 'nasty' George Osborne as DWP faces court challenge over benefit reforms (The Independent)