The Conservative government is facing criticism after it introduced emergency legislation to stop disability payments to around 160,000 people.

In response to two tribunal judgements advocating the payment of Personal Independence Payments to those suffering from the likes "overwhelming psychological distress" when travelling alone, the government decided to halt the pay-outs by referring them to a review by a specialist committee.

Disabilities minister Penny Mourdant said that in spite of the cuts, the government would "make sure they are giving money to the people who need it most," and that current payments of the benefit would not see the payment drop.

The DWP warned the government that the payments could cost them £3.7bn extra by 2022.

The payment, designed to help those who need assistance in everyday life as well as those who find it hard to get around, would see 50% of the 150,000 claimants paid £57.45 a week for assistance.

Another 21,000 recipients would receive this enhanced rate, increasing their payments by £35.65. The remaining claimants would have been given £21.80 a week.

Debbie Abrahams, the shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "Instead of listening to the court's criticisms of PIP assessments and correcting these injustices, this government has instead decided to undermine the legal basis of the rulings.

"By shifting the goalposts, the Tory government will strip entitlements from over 160,000 disabled people, money which the courts believe is rightfully theirs."

Although the DWP said it cannot determine who exactly will be affected by the decision, those with schizophrenia, dementia, autism and agoraphobia are at risk of being affected.

The research and policy director from disability charity Scope said that the payment plays a "vital role" in helping disabled people.

"Life costs more if you're disabled – on average £550 a month. PIP plays a vital role in helping disabled people meet some of those extra costs," said Anna Bird to The Independent.

"The assessment process is clearly not fit for purpose and must be reformed so it accurately reflects the extra costs disabled people face."

George Osborne attempted to scale back the PIP payments in 2016, which led to the resignation of Iain Duncan Smith, the former secretary of state for work and pensions.