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UK: Blue badge blues

Discussion in 'Work, Finances and Disability Insurance' started by Amw66, Jan 30, 2019.

  1. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

    Messages:
    5,495
    Our application for a blue badge has been turned down.

    My daughter is a bit upset, she had anticipated getting out and about a bit more, she is effectively housebound.
    I applied on her behalf in autumn, unfortunately a follow up information request went to her spam folder in November. I cleared this up two weeks ago.

    This has been my first interface with officialdom , though we will have to jump through PIP hoop this year .it' s clear that i will have to get up to speed with phrases and concepts that only exist in a benefits culture.

    Blue badges in our council are " decided" by an OT who has never met my daughter.
    The reason given was that she could walk.

    We have, since the original application bought a wheelchair as walking too much makes her light headed, and did seemed to bring on a tachycardic incident after a hospital appointment where we had to park miles away from the entrance and then miles within the building. She felt as though she was having a hreat attack a few hours later.

    She does not like being in a wheelchair, which i can relate to having used one for a day when i broke my leg - the experience was enough to make me persevere with crutches. She cannot however walk too far without later consequences.

    I can and will appeal, but would appreciate any advice re what points and information to put across . I am assuming the OT is a BACME member. Perhaps this is unkind.

    Thanks for any tips
     
    Hutan, Ariel, alktipping and 9 others like this.
  2. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    Location:
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    I think OT's in BACME will only be those who work in an ME clinic. The OT who assessed the blue badge application is presumably employed by the council to do that job and may know nothing about ME.

    I got a blue badge on the basis of being in the high rate mobility category of DLA and now PIP which requires you to be unable to walk more than 20 metres at a time reliably and without it causing you pain or needing to sit etc.

    If the applicant is not on PIP I imagine you probably need to have a doctors letter saying they are unable to walk more than 20 metres, or that they need to use a wheelchair when they go out, but I'm guessing about this.
     
  3. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks Trish.
    She can walk around 100m with a stick but usually pays for it if it's done in one go - feeling faint, breathless etc

    edit added detail
     
  4. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I would assume that when they ask if she can walk 20 meters, they mean without a stick and without feeling faint and breathless.
     
  5. Wonko

    Wonko Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Location:
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    That's what the rules suggest, but in practice with some assessors it means can she do it, even if she ends up in hospital as a result.
     
  6. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It seems to also mean can she do this all the time. Though i explained the fluctuation nature if things it seems the OT dosn't understand this.
    Yes she could walk 20m one day, but might not he able to walk up the stairs afterwards, or the next day. ....
     
  7. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    You're answering the question from the wrong standpoint, really. Because the condition fluctuates, you should answer it as if she's on her worst day provided she has symptoms at least half the time.

    So instead of 'Yes, but...' (optimistic) it should be 'No, but...' (pessimistic).

    This is hard for most people, because we're told to be brave and positive. But positivity here will result in the emphasis being put on the wrong thing (that she can do something, rather than that she can only rarely do something, which I suspect is closer to the truth).

    If you say yes first, the assessor is liable to switch off to the explanation that follows and focus on that.

    In PIP, the rule for calculating how severe and how many days a person is affected by their illness/disability is this: if the patient has severe symptoms one day a week, moderate symptoms three days a week, and no symptoms three days a week, you take the worst severity and the entire number of days she has symptoms. So in this example, it's four days and severe symptoms. If the person was only mild two days and moderate one day, you'd get three days at moderate.

    To score the points, though, you need to show she has any kind of symptoms more than half the time and that at their worst the symptoms are bad enough to prevent her walking 20 metres (or about 15 seconds) unaided.

    If you think of it in those terms and answer the question again: is your original answer still true or would you have to reframe it?

    To put it the other way: if she can walk 100m more than half the time, unaided and repeatedly, then she won't get the points. But it sounds as if she can do it once and then needs a few days to recover. Which suggests to me, you're saying she can do it less than half the time.

    It's easier to get a blue badge after PIP, so it might be worth waiting till after that. An actual visit from an OT can be useful, as they recommend aids which help you score points. Even if you don't have them fitted, having an OT's report suggesting aids means you're likely to score points if you would need those things half the time or more.

    A perching stool for the kitchen, a kettle tipper, a shoe horn and sock aid, etc., are all little things around the house that are cheap but will help you score extra points (if you mention them).

    Local authorities can usually help you get an OT to visit, or you can pay to have one visit privately (£150-200, probably) if you can't wait. The process for PIP is rather long, though, so if the blue badge is urgent, you might want to start it sooner rather than later.
     
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  8. yME

    yME Established Member (Voting Rights)

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    You will find that the Full Guidance from NICE 2007 www.nice.org.uk/guidance/cg53/evidence/full-guideline-pdf-196524109 provides you with some assistance (amazing for once) Search on blue and there are two useful hits page 42. I provided a page either side to assist the OT in their decision process / understanding, with success. Locally, there is no appeal process so another potential assessment fee. I did not have any assessment as I pointed out and supported the ‘nothing to be seen’ aspect. The CDC’s new ME page I think supports this.

    Further, about 12 months ago the Dept of Transport consulted / purposed that mental health conditions would be sufficient to grant a badge. So walking is no longer the only requirement. I recall that anxiety / ADH behaviour was going to be considered. I get anxious over ending up on the pavement. I think this new criteria was intended to be implemented around now, but have not looked further.

    Adam is totally correct regarding the thought process and as you will find PIP is perverse. Read the Welfare reform act and anybody representing the DWP are not there to support you. In fact they will (may???) lie, assume and not be aware of the legislation. You will end up at tribunal if you have CFS / ME on the claims form. It’s a very interesting process. Not sure if I can link to a petition, but looks as if 8,000 are having issues with assesments.

    https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/228602
     
  9. adambeyoncelowe

    adambeyoncelowe Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    It's often even simpler than that, according to a benefits lawyer I know. The assessors see many cases and get bonuses for doing more in a month.

    So often, allegedly, they will copy and paste from previous reports they've filled in for other people with the same condition to save time. That probably accounts for most of the wildest inaccuracies.

    Obviously, there will be people who lie too. But it's usually easier to prove incompetence than malice.
     
    alktipping, Amw66, MEMarge and 4 others like this.
  10. Daisy

    Daisy Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    If your daughter is light headed and tachycardic when upright have you considered orthostatic intolerance / POTS?
     
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  11. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thank you all for all the advice. It is much appreciated. I will read up over the weekend and draft something for our GP to look at ( she is not that clued up but helps when she can), she may do a letter if I give her some pointers.

    My thoughts are that OT is not really aware of ME issues, and I had planned to do a recap with some references sprinkled in ( eg workwell, Jason on PEM etc to explain the cumulative effect of trying to have a bit of a life. Having ME when a teenager can be really hard as she misses out on so much of teenage life.

    I might ask for a referral for OT input although this will not be within the appeal timeframe ( 4 weeks)

    The dizziness is when getting up, when very tired and when overdoing things. It does vary in intensity. When tired eyesight is also fuzzy/ can't focus and this gives sore heads/makes headaches worse. Cold extremities ( and knees for some reason?) Blood flow related , perhaps more likely to be NMH rather than POTS

    We do have some social anxiety sprinkled in which uses up a lot of energy- hangover from bullying and compounded by not being able to get out much! Might also be related to some genetics.

    Hopefully we can make a better case.
    I have been avoiding PIP - there is no way she could cope with an interview. I know that you can do a paper exercise but this has potentially less chance of success.
    I think she had been pinning her hopes on the Scottish Governments new social security process being better - when it kicks in.
     
  12. Trish

    Trish Moderator Staff Member

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    My daughter has similar problems and would not cope with a PIP interview on her own. I was with her and luckily the interviewer was sympathetic and was OK with me chipping in bits when needed. Also we prepared a lot beforehand so my daughter knew what questions would be asked and how to answer them to accurately convey her situation and had written notes ready to help her.
     
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  13. Amw66

    Amw66 Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Thanks @Trish . Good to know
     
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  14. Little Bluestem

    Little Bluestem Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    This sounds like orthostatic hypotension.
     
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  15. Wits_End

    Wits_End Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Ah. If true, that would explain why my caree's MR decision stated that she had claimed for virtually everything, rather than just the mobility and food preparation she had actually claimed for!
     
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  16. Sly Saint

    Sly Saint Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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  17. Annamaria

    Annamaria Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    The MEA leaflet on the Blue Badge scheme is underwhelming. Producing it gives little support to an application.
     
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  18. NelliePledge

    NelliePledge Moderator Staff Member

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    Maybe you should give them some feedback on how it could be improved.
     
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  19. Annamaria

    Annamaria Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    I did some time ago, with no discernible improvement.
     
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  20. Shadrach Loom

    Shadrach Loom Senior Member (Voting Rights)

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    Location:
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    London Borough of Mordor has replied surprisingly quickly to a blue badge application, and promises a telephone interview with an outfit called Dependability at a random point in the next 28 days. Has anyone else had one of these and know what they will be asking? Presumably this firm is heavily incentivised to bat applications back?
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2022
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