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More details of the arrangements to allow claimants to keep their Motability vehicles whilst appealing a disability living allowance (DLA) to personal independence payment (PIP) decision have now been published.

Last week we reported that Penny Mordaunt, Minister of State for Disabled People, had announced a scheme to allow DLA to PIP claimants who lose their right to a Motability vehicle to keep it whilst appealing the decision.

At that time, no details of how much of the transitional payment claimants would lose if they kept their vehicles was made public.

Payments whilst challenging a decision
The full details have now been provided by Motability, as follows.

For claimants who joined the Motability scheme before 2013 and return the car within eight weeks, £2,000 will be available. Alternatively you can choose to keep the vehicle for 26 weeks, however in this case you will receive a reduced payment of £500.

For claimants who joined the Motability scheme during 2013 and return the car within eight weeks a transitional support payment of £1,000 will be available. Alternatively you can choose to keep the vehicle for 26 weeks and receive a reduced payment of £250.

For claimants who joined the Motability scheme since 1 January 2014, when more information on PIP became available, a standard £250 Return to Dealer payment will be available if the vehicle is returned within eight weeks.

Motability say that all dates relate to the period starting from the day of the last DLA payment.

These details appear to only apply to claimants who lose their higher rate mobility on transfer from DLA to PIP. They do not apply claimants who lose their enhanced PIP mobility award when their PIP award is reviewed.

Claimants who do not return their vehicle within 8 weeks of the date of their last payment will be treated as having chosen to keep it for a further 26 weeks. They will have their transitional payment reduced accordingly.

If you receive a transitional payment and apply for a Motability vehicle again within six months, Motability say you will need to speak to them to ‘discuss your options’.

Outside of the six months Motability say they ‘do not expect’ you will need to repay anything, even if you are awarded enhanced PIP mobility and apply to join the scheme again.

How long to appeal?
One major issue is the length of time that the mandatory reconsideration and appeal process is likely to take.

With around 80% of DLA to PIP mandatory reconsiderations resulting in no change, most claimants will have to then appeal to a first-tier tribunal to try to get their award reinstated. Here their chances of success will be around 65%.

However, the DWP can take as long as they wish to make a decision on your mandatory reconsideration request, before you even get into the queue for an appeal. We don’t have any statistics on how long PIP mandatory reconsiderations take on average. But there is a lot of anecdotal evidence of claimants having to chase the DWP up repeatedly and still waiting months for a decision.

The latest statistics for appeals suggest that a social security appeal, once the process has begun, takes an average of 16 weeks to be completed.

However, the backlog in the number of appeals has increased by 43% in a year to December 2016 and is likely to continue rising as the number of DLA to PIP appeals puts an ever greater strain on the system.

There is a strong possibility that many, perhaps most, claimants will have to wait more than six months for a decision. In this case they will still lose their Motability car but will also lose up to £1,500 that they could otherwise have received from Motability.

Gamble
The new arrangements still leave claimants at a huge disadvantage.

The only fair solution would be to allow Motability users to keep their vehicles until their appeal has been heard, however long it takes. That way any delays would be at the expense of the DWP and taxpayers generally, rather than individual claimants.

Instead, claimants must either take a gamble, based on uncertainty about the length of the appeals process as well as the outcome, or they must give up a vehicle they know they should be entitled to keep. And, with it, a great deal of their independence.

What would you do?
If you found yourself in this position, what would you do?

Would you take the transitional payment or hang on to your vehicle and hope your appeal was heard – successfully - in time?

We’d particularly be interested to hear from members who have challenged a DLA to PIP decision.

Did you win and, if so, at what stage?

How long did the process take?

Please leave a comment below.

You can read more on the Motability website about keeping your vehicle whilst challenging a PIP decision.

You can also read Frequently Asked Questions about the transitional support package on the Motability website.

Comments  

#6 Rebecca Thomas 2017-05-03 13:41
Had DLA middle care and high mobility with car on 2 year review basis (for permanent condition). Change to PIP started 7 Sept 2015 with help of CAB. Form submitted 5 Nov 2015 (extension granted due to ill health and evidence requirements) with assessment 18 Jan 2016. Oddly refused home assessment for PIP, but a couple of months later was granted home assessment for ESA, which in turn was cancelled and ESA (Support Group) granted without assessment - go figure. 6 Mar 2016 awarded Standard Daily Living and Standard Mobility because I was seen as being able to walk more than 20 metres but less than 50 metres. Immediately went for MR, with a further letter from GP. Enhanced rate mobility awarded 11 May 2016. Yes I was VERY lucky - even though luck shouldn't come into it.

Throughout all this I also managed to keep my car. I kept in touch with Motability and found them amazingly sympathetic. The DWP actually helped here because their backlogs extend to sending information on recovery of vehicles to Motability, which in turn Motability can 'hide' in their own backlog IF they know you are actively seeking MR and a tribunal. By the time my MR was finalised my car still hadn't even started it's 8 week grace period for return (which you have to be notified of in writing)!

I would whole heartedly recommend ALL claimants seek additional help with their assessment, even if they feel 100% sure it is just a formality. Equally keep Motability in the loop. From the moment you are informed you have lost your enhanced rate (and car) TELL MOTABILITY. They are not the DWP, but a charity run to help and will deal with your case in that manner.
#5 PhilB 2017-05-02 12:31
Previously on higher mobility DLA. PIP assessment downgraded this to standard in August 2016. Challenged this via MR, DWP ruled no change in September 2016. Went to appeal. Appeal heard in December 2016. Appeal upheld. Took 4 months and consider myself very lucky it was that quick. Nevertheless my Motability car had to be returned, used 2k as deposit for new car and funded it myself. Again I am very lucky to be in such a situation but car is vital to maintain job. No car = No job. Complained to ATOS about the standard of their assessment and conduct of assessor and they admitted they were at fault (!) but obv too late to put it right.
+1 #4 tilsit 2017-04-26 17:03
I had my PIP assessment last November. Assessor asked me to get up on couch to examine legs. I pointed out they were compression bandaged from knee down, but she insisted. As I got on the couch, I fell. She then decided she didn't need to examine them after all, as she had enough evidence.

That translated into 'examined legal and found no sign of injury or swelling'. I have lymphoedema so my tops are swollen, and I had a large hole in my left leg just above the ankle.

Report came and I was awarded zero points. On MR, this was revised to 10 points, I lost my Motability vehicle. If I had had the six months' grace it would have helped - since losing it I have had had four bad falls and several doses of cellulitis.

Waiting for tribunal and currently in week 20, with no prospect of a date.

Access to Work (DWP as well) are currently paying £900 a month in taxis to/from work instead of the £225 per month Motability allowance.
+1 #3 Alison Burchell 2017-04-26 16:43
I had been on middle rate care component and enhanced mobility component of DLA for 10 years. When changed to PIP I was downgraded to standard PIP for mobility and hence lost my car. My decision came in October 2016 and I received my reconsideration answer in November 2016 and had to hand my car back on 2 December. I had to have my appeal papers in by 29 December 2016. I got my hearing date on 18 April and thankfully with the help from your articles I was awarded enhanced mobility again! I received £2,000 from Motability for the transition and I shall reapply for a new car in June in the hope of it being available from September, so I will have been without my motability car for 9 months. I really need an automatic car but was unable to afford one, so my husband has always had to drive since I lost my car, hopefully now I can get an automatic. Thank you for all your help.
+2 #2 Andrew 2017-04-26 12:27
Capita fiddled my points score down from the 22pts calculated by myself and carer for personal care to just 11pts after my home visit assessment. Just under the 12pts required for full/enhanced PIP, surprise surprise.
However, before leaving the nurse said "I cannot tell you what the DWP will decide on your award, but I can suggest how long you should be left alone before being reassessed all over again".
I knew then that they would attempt to knock my award down (I had been receiving the highest rate for both categories for the past 25 years).
Sure enough, I was awarded full rate for mobility, so I could keep my car, but was knocked back on personal care to standard rate, saving DWP budget £1300pa.
Hey presto, Capita mission achieved so they could justify their fees.
I was then told by disability charity advisors that if I appealed to DWP, they would look at my award again and could possibly reduce both my mobility award and my personal care, as they look again at the whole assessment scoring!
If I then took it to tribunal to appeal, even if I won and had both my awards reinstated at the enhanced rate, the DWP could then punish me by choosing to reassess me every 12 months or 2 years, rather than the 6 years stated in my assessment result.
In other words, they have fixed the system so that they can cheat you on the assessment to save money and then bully you into not appealing it with threats of making your life misery with repeated assessments if you take it to tribunal and win a higher award.

I could not face that prospect. 7 years of stress and anxiety already is enough.

How on earth can this be passed through parliament as a fair and reasonable way of treating the chronically sick and severely disabled in our community!?!
+2 #1 Sparklykoi 2017-04-26 11:41
Background - had indefinite DLA high rate mob low rate care.
PIP application - they requested I attend a medical 25 miles away at 8am. (On the initial application phone call my husband had requested a home visit or local assessment because of the impact of travelling, DWP had said yes).
Next tried to ring Capita to change appointment. Could not get through. Wrote to them. No answer. Emailed to say I could not attend due to distance. No reply. Again no answer on phone. After appointment date received letter my PIP failed due to failing to attend without good reason. Husband wrote back mand recon. request on basis 25 miles unreasonable when centre 1.5 miles away & discrimination. Day after I returned car the rules changed about the 6 month leeway. Felt gutted but then realised it is hard enough to find a car for £2k (and I'm lucky to get that I realise) it will be impossible with 500 if still waiting for appeal. I did not get a letter back from DWP I got another letter from Capita this week saying they are looking at my application again and will be inviting me for a medical... In the meantime have already spent £40 on taxis to appointments. So it is good there is more time to keep car but in my case with no savings I had no real choice as I desperately need automatic car I can get in and out of. Not much choice for £500! Not knowing when you can appeal is also a factor due to the mand recon issue. Thank you for supporting us all though as there is no help otherwise.

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