How far is 20 metres?

There seems to be a problem with how the DWP interpret distances when they determine how far we are capable of walking to set the level of PIP awarded. In the application form for PIP the tick-box options for distances applicable to deciding the awarding of high or standard mobility are:

  • Less than 20 metres
  • 20 metres to 50 metres

However, Schedule 1 part 3 (2) of the Social Security (Personal Independence Payment) Regulations 2013 (as it appeared 16/12/2014 on the website) contains the following definitions:

  • d. Can stand and then move using an aid or appliance more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres. 10 points
  • e. Can stand and then move more than 1 metre but no more than 20 metres, either aided or unaided. 12 points

‘Less than 20 metres’ is completely different to ‘no more than 20 metres’. One definition includes 20 metres, the other doesn’t. DWP have introduced confusion over whether a distance of 20 metres qualifies claimants to extended or standard mobility by introducing an application form that does not mirror the regulations. So which definition are DWP using to determine eligibility? Doh!

The difficulty is that I have been given standard mobility award because during the assessment  I used the term “up to 20 metres” According to the case manager, if an applicant mentions 20 metres, e.g. says ‘up to 20 metres’ like I did, the assessor will automatically put him/her into the longer category. Another bit of benefit saved!

Sleep and ME

Very interesting article looking at the links between poor and unrefreshing sleep and ME/CFS and the efficacy of various treatments. I was particularly taken by the suggestion that there might be a link between the neuropathic pain I have, particularly at night, and my own difficulties in getting to sleep.

A recent study found that neuropathic pain activates a part of the brainstem (the locus coeruleus) that promotes wakefulness. Another study found that neuropathic pain induced the firing of serotonergic neurons, again in the brainstem, that increased wakefulness and reduced deep sleep. If these studies are correct it’s not the pain per se that’s keeping people awake, but the promotion of wakefulness by the brainstem. Bansai recently proposed brainstem problems could help explain the extraordinary debility and sensory problems often found in the most severely ill ME/CFS patients.

The full article is in Health Rising.