BENEFITS bosses axed a disabled woman’s Motability car to save cash – but then agreed to pay out £65,000 to taxi her to and from work.
The bureaucrats first decided Jan Davis, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, no longer qualified for the disability allowance she used to pay for the car.
But just weeks later officers from the same Government department ruled she did qualify for help in getting to work.
They agreed to pay for a taxi to take Jan, from Ayr, to and from her job in East Kilbride, 33 miles away.
The move, which would cost the taxpayer an extra £19,000 a year, was last night branded “shambolic” by her local MP.
Jan, 58, who suffers excruciating pain, had been receiving the Personal Independence Payment, a non-means tested benefit, and used this money to lease a Motability car.
But the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) last month informed Jan she would no longer qualify after a snap reassessment of her benefits ruled she did not need the car to live independently.
Desperate to keep her job at HM Revenue & Customs, Jan turned to the DWP’s Access to Work scheme after taking advice from her MP.
To her surprise, she was informed the DWP would pay for her to take a taxi to and from work – despite a cost of almost £65,000 over three years, compared with the £8000 cost of leasing a car over that period.
Last night, Jan, of Ayr, blasted the DWP’s approach, saying: “It’s crazy – it would have cost them less than £6000 for me to keep the car and yet they are willing to pay up to £65,000 for taxis.
The percentage of claimants with degenerative physical conditions who get awards of enhanced rate personal independence payment (PIP) mobility has fallen by up to two thirds when compared with disability living allowance (DLA), the BBC has revealed.
The BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show has obtained the startling figures using the Freedom of Information act.
Originally posted on Britain Isn’t Eating: http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/3579-higher-rate-mobility-awards-for-physical-health-plummet-under-pip
DAVID Trotter, who lost his car after cruel cuts saw his vital mobility payment slashed, saw his benefits reinstated after winning an appeal against the DWP
A DISABLED man has won his appeal against cruel benefits cuts that left him stranded without a car.
David Trotter – who has multiple sclerosis (MS) – lost his vehicle when a vital mobility payment was slashed by officials.
The 32-year-old, who needs crutches to walk, was told he was fit enough to take a bus from his home in Dalkeith, Midlothian, to his job 15 miles away in Livingston.
But David has had his payments reinstated after winning an appeal last week.
It came after the Record highlighted the IT worker’s case against the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in May.
David Trotter needs his car to travel the 15 mile journey to work, but says he will have to quit his job after the Department for Work and Pensions removed his “enhanced mobility” allowance
A disabled man who relies on his car for work says he is being forced to leave his job after his benefits were slashed.
IT worker David Trotter has suffered with multiple sclerosis for 11 years and needs crutches to walk.
He needs his car, which is financed through benefits, to travel to his job 15 miles away, but after the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) declared he is fit enough to take the bus he says he will have to quit his job.
He said the DWP removed his “enhanced mobility” payment of more than £200 a month, which means that 32-year-old David has no way to travel to his job in Livingston.
He told the Daily Record : “The thing that is getting me most is that the woman asked how far I could walk without any pain. I told her that it was 10 steps before the pain kicks in, even on a good day. That makes public transport inaccessible because of walking to and from the bus. But somehow their verdict says I can walk between 20 and 50 metres. I’ve asked them to revisit it. The appeal will take nine weeks but the DWP say the car will be collected before then.”
From 28 October, where a claimant is investigated by the DWP as a result of a false accusation of fraud, they will automatically lose their DLA and be forced to make a claim for PIP, even if found to be entirely innocent. The new DWP policy is legally questionable and is likely to cause enormous distress to claimants, whilst rewarding hate-callers.
The change in DWP policy has come about because of the roll-out of PIP to existing claimants which begins at the end of this month.
According to PIP regulations, after 28 October if ‘a DLA entitled person . . . notifies the Secretary of State of a change of circumstances’ they will be ‘invited’ to claim PIP instead.
In other words, if you are getting DLA and you inform the DWP that your condition is getting better or worse, then you will be assessed for PIP rather than for DLA.
In March of this year the DWP published a PIP toolkit which included a number of factsheets about the PIP claims process. Included in factsheet 6 was confirmation of how changes of circumstances would be treated:
From October 2013, DWP will start to write to the following existing DLA claimants, inviting them to claim PIP. The invitation will explain how to make a claim, and the time limits for making a claim:
• claimants who choose to claim PIP (selfselectors) can do so from this date
• those DLA claimants who report a change in their care or mobility needs will be invited to claim PIP
However, in September the wording of the second bullet point was changed, so that it now states that amongst those who will be invited to claim PIP will be:
• those claimants where we receive information that there has been a change in their care or mobility needs
So, it appears it will not just be where the claimant themselves inform the DWP of a change of circumstances that they will be assessed for PIP, as the law requires.
Instead, where someone else, including a malicious neighbour or relative using the anonymous National Benefit Fraud Hotline, reports that the claimant is no longer in need of help with care or mobility, the claimant will still lose their DLA and be assessed for PIP instead.
This approach appears to be confirmed by a poster on Rightsnet who explained:
“At our local JC+/customer/representative forum meeting last week a DWP partner support manager brought the following change of wording to the attention of the meeting (second bullet point on page one of link)
“In his words anyone who was ‘bubbled’ (shopped) would be taken as if they were a ‘self selector’ in the DLA/PIP reassessments.”
The decision about whether the claimant has been committing fraud must still be based on the DLA criteria.
But even if it is decided that there has been absolutely no change in their condition and they are the victim of a misguided or deliberately malicious informant, the claimant will still lose their DLA and have to claim PIP instead.
It will undoubtedly be cheaper and more convenient for the DWP to assess claimants for PIP at the same time as they are investigating them for DLA fraud. It saves coming back and looking at their claim again at the proper time.
However, we know that large numbers of people are likely to lose out under the transfer from DLA to PIP, including some people with mobility problems and some people who need supervision because of serious mental health conditions. Being assessed early for PIP, in some cases possibly by three or more years, will therefore be a serious blow.
That, simply for administrative convenience, the DWP are prepared to inflict this blow and in the process collude with hate-filled anonymous callers, says a great deal about the way that claimants are now viewed by the state.
Benefits and Work have made a Freedom of Information request to try to uncover what guidance has been issued on how to treat DLA claimants accused of fraud after 28th October.
From ‘Benefits and Work’, 22nd October 2013: http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/2416-claimants-to-lose-dla-permanently-if-falsely-accused-of-fraud-dwp-decides?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Benefits%20and%20Work&utm_content=23+October+2013+newsletter