The introduction of the Personal Independence Payment (PIP) in 2013 coincided with a tightening of the criteria for those claiming the enhanced mobility component of PIP. The new 20 metre rule has replaced the 50 metre criteria associated with Disability Living Allowance, with the result that fewer people with MS are now qualifying for the top rate of PIP compared to DLA applicants, and many are losing their mobility support. Whereas a distance of 50 metres was typically used to assess people for the upper rate of the mobility component of DLA, 20 metres is the new distance for PIP.

When the MS Society approached ICM in 2017, they were concerned that those with MS who were previously entitled to the enhanced rate were losing out financially and emotionally, especially since their costs and needs may be similar to those who successfully claim the highest rate. They had a large body of evidence around the assessment process and knowledge of how many people were losing out, but not on the social and economic impact of the change – that's where ICM came in.

An innovative research approach