Tag Archives: Motability

DWP victory!

Well, it took long enough but here is the text of the letter that the Complaints & Correspondence Manager for the DWP sent to my MP last week:

Thank you for your letter dated 21 October about the need for an appointee … for your constituent, Mrs. F.

Firstly, I apologise for the length of time it has taken to reply but as explained during my telephone call to your office we needed to obtain legal guidance about this matter to ensure we actioned Mrs. F’s case correctly.

We have contacted both Motability Operations and our legal group about her circumstances. Although a signature is desirable for validation reasons, (it) is not actually required for a claim to be classed as valid.

Motability Operations tend to follow our lead on whether an appointee is required. They have confirmed that if we are content that Mrs. F can manage her affairs they would amend the contract accordingly. They would ask the customer to write to them explaining the situation and in this case would accept why a signature could not be provided.

As explained, … the Manager responsible for Mrs. F’s case is going to contact the appointee about relinquishing the appointeeship to enable Mrs. F to deal with her own affairs. Once this has been done responsibility for dealing with her DLA and her Motability agreement will lie with Mrs. F.

I hope this info will prove useful for anyone else who, like me, has a functioning brain despite being unable to hold a pen.

* * *

Edit: I’ve forgotten to put the original text of my complaint to Rob Wilson on here, which might be useful for people who want to raise their own issues with the DWP. You’ll find it below:

I have motor neurone disease and as a result am paralysed. As such, I am unable to hold a pen and therefore unable to sign documents. Because of this, against my better judgement, I agreed last year to my friend, H, becoming my appointee for DWP purposes. To do this, I had no choice but to declare that I am incapable of managing my affairs. At the time, my survival rested on my receipt of benefits so I allowed this to happen only to facilitate my financial security. I no longer rely on means-tested benefits but still receive Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit.

In April of this year I began the process of applying for a wheelchair accessible vehicle through the Motability contract hire scheme. Recently, my DWP appointee was informed by Motability Operations that it would be her who would be held legally responsible for the car, not me. For obvious reasons, neither H nor I were willing for this to happen. I am more than capable of taking responsibility for my own car plus she has no wish to have any liability for a car which she has no control over the use of.

I informed the DWP that my friend was no longer willing to be my appointee over the phone and submitted the forms with a ‘P.P.’ signature, as instructed by the vehicle supplier. However, when they submitted the forms to the DWP the process ground to a halt. My mother telephoned the DWP to inquire what the problem was. They refused to divulge any information to her or me and informed her that if I was unable to sign the form then I would be unable to have a car on the Motability scheme.

Because I am unable to travel by any means other than an adapted wheelchair accessible vehicle, H has reluctantly agreed to sign for the car. We contacted Motability Operations who informed us that H will remain under contract for the car even if she withdraws from her appointeeship. This responsibility can only be transferred to my next appointee or me, if the DWP assess me to be capable of running my own life. This then returns full circle to the fact that the DWP only provide me with two options; my signature, which I am physically incapable of providing or relinquishing my rights to yet another person when I am a fully competent and intelligent human being.

I find the lack of understanding by the DWP to be astounding at a time when all political parties claim to be working towards enabling disabled people to live independent and fulfilling lives, free from discrimination. The DWP are clearly in breach of the Equality Act 2010 by not making reasonable adjustments to the service that they provide to the public as a whole. Their lack of anticipation of service users who have brains that function but hands that do not results in abuse towards the claimant, the appointee and the DWP’s own procedures and systems. For me (or anyone in my position) to claim that I am incapable of managing my affairs is fraudulent yet I am forced by the state to lie or I cannot receive any of the benefits to which I am entitled. An appointee is bound by the terms of their appointeeship to inform the DWP if the claimant becomes capable of managing their own affairs; if they do this then the claimant is left with no way of handling their own life. Therefore the appointee has to collude with the falsehood. In addition to this, an appointee who has no right to stop a competent person from living life however they choose is still liable for any fraud, etc. perpetrated by the claimant. This leaves him/her in an extremely vulnerable position.

Surely I should not have to hand over my autonomy to someone else because the DWP have not anticipated my inability to hold a pen and sign? I am not disabled by my muscles not working; I am disabled by the DWP’s lack of adequate provision to all of their service users.

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Sodding DWP

Life was going smoothly for a few weeks there but it looks like I’ve found a new battle. I must have looked bored!

Just emailed the EHRC:

I believe that the Department for Work & Pensions are discriminating against me because of my disability.

I have motor neurone disease and as a result am paralysed. As such, I am unable to hold a pen and therefore unable to sign documents. Because of this, against my better judgement, I agreed last year to my friend becoming my appointee for DWP purposes. To do this, I had to declare that I am incapable of managing my affairs. At the time, my survival rested on my receipt of benefits so I allowed this to happen only to facilitate my financial security. I no longer rely on means-tested benefits but still receive Disability Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit.

In April of this year I began the process of applying for a wheelchair accessible vehicle through the Motability contract hire scheme. Recently, my DWP appointee was informed by Motability Operations that it would be her who would be held legally responsible for the car, not me. For obvious reasons, neither her nor I were willing for this to happen. I am more than capable of taking responsibility for my own car plus she has no wish to have any liability for a car which she has no control over the use of.

I informed the DWP that my friend was no longer willing to be my appointee over the phone and submitted the forms with a ‘P.P.’ signature, as instructed by the vehicle supplier. However, when they submitted the forms to the DWP the process ground to a halt. My mother telephoned the DWP to inquire what the problem was. They refused to divulge any information to her or me and informed her that if I was unable to sign the form then I would be unable to have a car on the Motability scheme.

I intend to make a complaint to the DWP but am I right in claiming that they are breaching the Equality Act 2010 by not making reasonable adjustments to the service that they provide? Surely I should not have to hand over my autonomy to someone else because the DWP have not anticipated my inability to hold a pen and sign? I’m certain that I am not the only service user with a brain that functions but hands that don’t.

I await your advice. Thank you very much for your assistance.


Motability and other bureaucratic delights!

I’ve recently ‘met’ a newly-diagnosed fellow MNDer via Facebook (the wonders of social media indeed!). Finally, after ridiculous amounts of hoop-jumping, she’s recently been awarded DLA and is now ordering a new car through Motability.

Having spent nearly eight years with what’s thankfully now become ‘slow-motion-ALS’, I’m always worried about people who are starting their journey. The fact that it’s virtually impossible to anticipate what parts of your body are going to fail next added to not knowing what to do or how to cope when that happens makes it seriously unlikely that anyone will pick a car that will still meet their needs in a few months time, let alone throughout the three or five year contract. I decided to write her an email and explain my hideous experiences. Then I thought I could post it here & hopefully it might help others in a similar position. Here it is.

‘well, i originally got an automatic focus but within months i could hardly get in it, let alone drive it. i then bought a passenger seat which comes out of the car to make transferring easier. i still have it so if you want it at any point you’d be welcome to it.

‘so, a year in, that became too difficult and i spent another year trying to get an early end to the motability contract. i eventually got a kia sedona with a ramp at the back so i could stay in my wheelchair in the boot of the car. now the five years of that are up, i’m finding it really inconvenient & uncomfortable being in the back. if i sneeze or dribble i have to wait for the driver to pull over, get out & climb in the back to wipe me. the suspension is really tight in the back for the lowered floor which means that now i’m weak i bounce around in the back quite painfully. i’ve hit my head on the ceiling, bitten my tongue, come out of my chair, etc. a few times. it’s horrible.

‘this time i’m getting a VW transporter that is adapted for me to sit in the front passenger space. there are smaller up-front WAVs available – you don’t have to have a bus! i just need the space for my equipment when we go away.

‘if you get a wheelchair accessible vehicle – WAV – you can still drive or sit in the front but when you lose your ability to do that you can relax, knowing whatever your needs are the car will still work for you.

‘i’d be very happy to help you in any way i can, maria. if we have to endure this hideous disease then we need to get what we’re entitled to!’

As an addition, please message me if you would like the retractable front seat. It’s in my mum’s garage. She wants rid and I’d far rather someone was using it!