People with Epilepsy are set to loose out on PIP from 2013

Now that the transfer from DLA to PIP is pretty much a done deal, with a few more tweaks likely – but otherwise leaving up to half a million of us with Epilepsy and other Disability’s out in the cold with a loss of vital benefits.

It’s not rocket science to see that many of those who will lose out are going to have to make stark choices about food or heating, not buying essential equipment or important extras not available on prescription, or having to forgo the motability car they were saving for.  But there are other, unforeseen, side effects of this hateful, unwanted legislation.
People who are removed from DLA and fail to make the transfer to PIP because they won’t clock up enough points on the tick-box assessment won’t just lose the money – they will also lose their eligibility for passport benefits.

Passport benefits are extra benefits you can only access if you are already receiving DLA. The most well known ones are the Disabled Rail Card and the Concessionary Disabled Bus Pass issued by local authorities (LA).

It’s going to be a massive huge blow to wheelchair users who use accessible buses and trains, as well as those with limited mobility on foot who need access to public transport.

And – People with Epilepsy will also lose out heavily because they are the main group among disabled people who are not medically fit to drive. Many people with far more disabling conditions can still drive themselves in adapted vehicles and can go pretty much anywhere they please. People with uncontrolled epilepsy are completely dependent on public transport and taxis.

Over the past 24hrs, I had a good look at the PIP points, which you can READ ABOUT HERE.

Looking at the PIP points allocation, I’m fairly sure I won’t qualify for PIP even though I have a lifetime award for DLA. I get DLA because preparing and cooking a meal unaided is very risky for me, likewise going out unsupervised ‘sometimes’ is also risky because of the possibility of having a seizure while crossing the road, for example.  These are the risks to health and safety we need to consider everyday, as people with Epilepsy and other neurological conditions.
These are just some of the conditions why we qualify for travel concessions.

However, concessionary bus passes in England and Wales are issued by local authorities and it’s quite literally a postcode lottery, as LAs can set their own criteria for eligibility. Most require proof that applicants receive DLA, such as a copy of the award letter.

For disabled people living in those local authority areas, the loss of the bus pass will be a bitter blow. It will certainly severely limit my ability to get around as much as I’d like to, yes – even to work!
And by this… Disabled people will suffer severe isolation at home.

Likewise, eligibility criteria for the Disabled Rail Card, which gives a third off rail travel for the holder and a travel companion, vary depending on the type of disability but again most categories require proof of receipt of DLA.

Loss of access to the trains and buses (and also the Tube, trams and local area trains on the bus pass in London) will seriously hinder disabled people’s ability to get around – to go to work, to socialise, even to get to the shops – and participate fully in society.

And of course, loss of disability benefits means people will have no spare cash to pay for expensive taxis instead. Before I moved house, I worked out I was spending most of my monthly DLA on Coaches to London, local Buses (when on on-peak hours), and taxis at night – because it was too dangerous to walk home from the centre of Bristol in the evenings (it’s a 4 mile walk home from Bristol City Centre for me).

For many people loss of access to cheap or free travel could be even worse than the loss of the cash benefit itself.

Now we wait and see, when PIP gets introduced in 2013. Think about this “how will you get to work or survive without help via DLA / PIP payment or a Travel Bus Pass / Train Pass concession ?”

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