A disabled mum won back her Taxicard — which was unfairly cancelled by London Councils due to DWP delays with her PIP reassessment — with support from us and her MP. Together, we have now written to London Councils asking them not to treat it as a one-off, but to change their policy for everyone affected. We look forward to a positive response:
12 October 2022
Andy Rollock, Mobility Services Manager (Transport & Mobility)
London Councils, 59½ Southwark Street, London SE1 0AL
Dear Andy Rollock,
London Councils should not penalise disabled Taxicard users for systemic DWP delay with PIP – allow Taxicard extensions as needed
As you know, WinVisible supported Ms A to get her Taxicard restored. London Councils (LC) unfairly cancelled her Taxicard because the DWP delayed over a year in making a decision on her PIP reassessment, and LC would not accept her word about her eligibility, without a current DWP letter.
Thank you for agreeing the Taxicard extension in Ms A’s case, but it should not be a one-off. Together, we are writing to ask that London Councils change their punitive approach and grant Taxicard extensions to others when needed.
Taxicard staff were unhelpful to Ms A when she explained her plight:
“When I telephoned London Councils Taxicard they said that they could not reinstate my Taxicard because my PIP has not been renewed and the end of my PIP was last September 2021. They did not accept that my PIP was being reviewed and I am still in receipt of the payments. London Councils then said that I need to reapply and they have cancelled my Taxicard.”
Ms A was already extremely anxious about the PIP delay, and this added to her stress. Because her Taxicard was cancelled, she spent about £80 extra on fares, in addition to other cost of living increases. She is a disabled single mother of a disabled son, the family has high disability expenses and it is very hard to economise. We encouraged Ms A to ask her MP Stephen Hammond to take it up with London Councils. You replied to him (7 September 2022):
“I am sorry this situation has occurred. From what I understand your constituent has been having issue with a review of their Personal Independence Payment (PIP), which in turn has impacted on their Taxicard, which has been cancelled. I have also been informed by colleagues at London Councils that there is a backlog of cases with the DWP.
In order to obtain a Taxicard an applicant has to meet one of the eligibility criteria, in this case PIP (10 points for moving around). Unfortunately, as Mrs A’s entitlement had ceased and she is unable to provide continued proof of entitlement her Taxicard is cancelled until such time as proof of PIP can be provided.
However, having reviewed this matter and the points raised by Mrs A it is clear this is causing her some distress and impacting on her daily living and as such I am willing make an exception in this case and issue Mrs A with a temporary Taxicard for two months, which will allow her to have continued use of the scheme for the short term, in which time it is hoped her DWP review will be complete.” [our emphasis]
The extension of Taxicard should be a blanket policy in support of disabled people’s need and right to travel, not an exception. Especially as London Councils know that DWP PIP delays are systemic, as reported by Disability News Service (June 2022) and others. During the current cost of living crisis, London Councils must make extra effort to avoid adding to the costs and hardships faced by disabled women, children and men (including mothers and others with caring responsibilities). In any case, Taxicard users have an underlying entitlement based on the mobility needs we already proved, whether we have a DWP letter to show for it, or not.
London Councils has an equality duty to eliminate discrimination, in this case against Taxicard users who don’t have a current DWP letter, through no fault of our own, compared to those who do. See your policy statement: https://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/who-we-are/about-us/promoting-equalities
We saw an announcement that the DWP is supposed to handle PIP reviews differently now and set up automatic extensions for 12 months. From 31 October they are to send out confirmation letters to claimants about the extension: https://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/news/automatic-12-month-pip-extensions-begin
However, we are worried that some disabled people will still not be able to prove their PIP entitlement, especially as the DWP often does not carry out the help for claimants they have announced or by the date announced (as we saw with the delay with the £150 cost of living payments). Therefore a policy change by London Councils is needed.
We look forward to hearing from you,
Ms A Claire Glasman
WinVisible (women with visible and invisible disabilities)
Cllr Georgia Gould, Leader of London Councils (Camden)
Stephen Hammond MP
Transport for All
John Pring, Disability News Service