Disabled woman from King’s Lynn can’t get her disability vehicle back, despite winning appeal

Lynda Lancaster with her son Daryl Jones. Picture: Ian Burt

Lynda Lancaster with her son Daryl Jones. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Lynda Lancaster relied on a specialist motoring allowance had her car taken away - but was unable to get the same car back after she won the appeal.

Jonathan Toye from West Norfolk Disability. Picture: Ian Burt

Jonathan Toye from West Norfolk Disability. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

Now Lynda Lancaster from King's Lynn says she's too nervous of accepting the offer of financial help towards a different vehicle in case she ever found herself in the same situation again.

Her case is among those handled by a disability campaign group in west Norfolk, which says it currently has an 80pc success rate with appeals when cars have been taken away.

Mrs Lancaster, 54, who suffers from a chronic lung condition, said: 'We spent a lot of time looking for the best vehicle that would help me and found the Vauxhall Mokka was perfect.

'It wasn't specifically adapted in any way but it had a proper plug socket which is vital as I need to have a nebuliser with me. It gave me back my independence; I was able to go out once again.'

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Mrs Lancaster's circumstances meant she was entitled to the enhanced rate of the motability component of her Personal Independence Payments (PIP), the payment that began replacing the Disability Living Allowance in April 2013.

It meant she was able to use the payments towards the three year lease of a vehicle, which arrived in March last year.

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Three months later, she received a letter from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) saying that her case was up for review and that she would have to reapply for her allowances.

After a series of assessments, by the end of July she would no longer be allocated the enhanced rate for her allowance - just the standard care - and payments she received previously were stopped.

Mrs Lancaster, who used to work as a door supervisor at nightspots around King's Lynn, said: 'The car was taken away on September 25 and sold at auction even though I was appealing the decision. My condition is getting worse all the time and not better, I couldn't understand why this was happening.

'I was back to being housebound and my son had to take me in his car to all my hosptial appointments.'

Jonathan Toye from the West Norfolk Disability Information Service says up to 10 people per week are contacting him over the issue.

He said: 'I have a cupboard filled with cases similar to Lynda's.

'I am lobbying local MPs and the various other parties involved to discuss the possibility of tweaking the rules so that someone only loses their car when they have been definitely proved to be ineligible after their appeals.'

He added: 'It's having a devastating effect on disabled people's lives - last year we had 80pc success rate with PIP appeals. Things need to change.'

A DWP spokesperson explained there is 'a long standing principle' that benefits are not paid before appeal results issued.

He said: 'Having a Motability car is dependent on the claimant being entitled to DLA or PIP. During the appeals process there is no entitlement to either of these benefits.

'Just because a decision is overturned does not necessarily mean our decision makers have made a mistake. Instead in the majority of appeal cases there is additional information available to base a new decision on.'

He added the majority of claimants leaving Motability Scheme after reassessment are eligible for a £2,000 transitional payment and that claimants can reapply for the scheme if a decision has been changed on appeal.

- Have you found yourself in a similar situation? Email louise.hepburn@archant.co.uk

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