Electricity - central heating - DLA tribunal

Electricity - central heating - DLA tribunal

A rare post from me, but it concerns one I made ages ago regarding getting the Warm Home Discount scheme. I just wanted to update those who followed the story with what happened.

At the time I was with npower and they refused to forward my enquiry on to the right department as I was positive I qualified but I got fobbed off, repeatedly, by their useless customer services people. It went to their Executive Complaints team and eventually the Ombudsman. npower gave the Ombudsman the same story as they gave me, but obviously didn't check their facts.

At the same time I complained about our pre-pay meter as npower insisted the emergency credit was available once the credit got below £1, nobody actually checked, our meter is set to a much lower 50p limit, which is stupid in this day and age when we can easily use £4-£5 in a day. I can't run to the shop when the credit is low and it has been known to go off because I can't get down into the cellar to check it very often.

There have been times where I've checked and seen it only had perhaps a pound left in credit. If the wife puts the immersion heater on when she gets up in a morning, takes a shower and makes a cuppa then this can soon go. I have had to stay up and switch extra things on so the credit level went to below 50p just so I could trigger the emergency credit and stop all the power going off, then leave her a note to get come credit. Crazy! The gas can be triggered at £2 and we would never use that much in one day.

The ombudsman got npower to pay £25 compensation, I'm sure it's cost me a lot more than that in time and effort, as well as stamps and phone calls.

So, after being a customer of the former Yorkshire Electricity since 1977, I left and went to e-on instead. We've been with them 2 months, are saving about £17 per month, will get regular loyalty discounts and have been readily accepted for the Warm Home scheme !

As for the central heating. Originally the council turned us down, but then I noted they had assessed me under the wrong criteria. After an initial complaint it was re-assessed and the occupational therapist came to see me, he approved it all and it's since gone through the various departments to check the property for asbestos, there is none, then getting contractors to put in tenders, including house visits to see what needs to be done. I'm told they will be fitting us in during September, depending on what other jobs they have.

I've had the paperwork from the council and had to sign to say that if we leave the premises within 10 years we will have to repay them for the work done. We're just waiting for the start date then have to face a few days of them ripping up carpets and floorboards, that will do wonders for my chest with the dust...

A couple of months ago I attended a tribunal hearing for my DLA. They turned me down and I was really annoyed with the reason given - based on assumption, not fact or a point of law. The head of the tribunal told me that attending PR sessions would "make me better" ! Yes, that was their reason. I have it in writing.

I was told at the start of the hearing that I must not mention anything that have affected me or my claim since i first made it, yet they were allowed to make a wild guess about the state of my health and 'getting better' because they had asked about current treatment, where I mentioned starting PR.

I asked for a transcript of the hearing, it's taken 8 weeks to get that :( I am now taking it to a higher level as I totally disagree with them and do not accept it as a point of law. The PR people at the hospital agree with me.

The stupid thing is that I've not been able to attend the PR sessions as I can't get there. I'm supposed to take 2 buses then have a heck of a walk from the bus stop to the hospital door and then internally to the respiratory department on the first floor. I explained that I was having to get there an hour before the appointment time so I could make my way with various stops on the way to get my breath.

I've only managed to get to one since the tribunal date and had to stop part-way through the session as I was in trouble with breathing and chest pains. They checked me over and said to sit out the rest of that period. I was able to get to the meeting room for the after exercise discussion they do.

It is pointless struggling to get there, wearing myself out with all the walking to the department, and then not being able to do the exercise as I've already done far too much for that day. The tribunal asked about how I managed to get there and I explained in detail, yet there's no mention of that in the notes I've been sent. I pointed out that I only pushed myself to get there because if anything happened, I was in the right place to get treatment ! I wouldn't have dared make such a trip anywhere else.

The week after the session I got to I started with a chest infection and it's usually 2 weeks on AB's and steroids, then we had the hot weather and I just could not manage going for the bus. I'm back on AB's yet again because I was coughing gunk up, so I've no idea when I will be able to go back. I've had to phone and explain it to them.

The idea of DLA mobility component is to give those who need it the financial help to be able to take a taxi or even run a car. I cannot afford £6 each way twice a week by taxi.

I went for another appointment with the cardio department, and had to do a treadmill walk. I explained that I had come on the hus and had to walk through half the hospital, taking an hour and a half in all, and had to stop after a very short time because I could not breath and my legs were really hurting.

I sat in their waiting room for almost an hour after that before I dare set off to go for the bus. I had left home at 10.30am and got home just after 6pm. The hospital is only 3 miles from my home ! Taking the bus means changing services in the new Interchange we have, built on a slope. After the last experience I had there I hope I never have to go there again.

I had been to the chemist to pick up my repeat prescription and purposely waited at the stop before the Interchange as this is where the drivers change over. It's actually a street with 5 bus shelters, and you play russian roulette trying to get the one you want. Knowing that I only have one bus an hour that comes round our way I waited for it, got on after they changed drivers, got a ticket and she took me to the Interchange.

She then went to the furthest bay from where I would have caught the bus, had I caught a different service, and insisted I got off there as she was going to park up. I was stuck, I knew it would take me perhaps 10-15 minutes to get from there to the main stands where I needed to be, and sure enough, I missed the ruddy bus !

I tried to call my wife, as she would have had to come and pick me up, but the Interchange is built under a big shopping centre, and there's no mobile signal. The Interchange staff were totally useless and I ended up having to make my way out of the place on any bus, get off at the next stop and phone for a taxi from there. By then the wife had gone back to work.

Not only was I out of breath but I was really upset about it all. I wrote to the bus company concerned and have had no reply. I wrote to the transport executive about the problems of getting in to town and home again, they just fobbed me off with the community transport number, which is no good to me. Not only do you have to pay, even if you have a pass, but they don't go anywhere near the doctor's, hospital or wherever else I need to be. It's just a shopping service.

Thanks to the DWP and Tribunals service for turning me down for DLA mobility I am fast becoming a prisoner in my own home as I can't get anywhere.

I've even stopped taking trips to see my Dad as I just can't manage public transport any more. I had pleurisy in February and my chest starts to hurt a lot sooner than it used to. Where I could manage a short walk from the bus stop to the railway platform before, I can't now.

We've had to arrange to go up in the car now and again, but then that's costing in petrol as it's an 80 mile round trip. Of course, I don't get the mobility component of DLA.... :(

There's much more going off in my life but those are the issues I said I'd let people know about.

81 Replies

So sorry to hear about your DLA thay are a load of well dare a say it

But yes those that really need it cant get it

If i was you gordon .. I would try uses human rights law

As being sick you should not be discrimanated against nor should you be denied qualty of life

Is nice to see you and sorry about problems your having

If its any consolation we are all having same problems

As I said, it's going to a higher level. I've been writing it up and have got two pages so far, mainly dismissing what the tribunal panel have reported, and explaining why.

I'm also getting my MP involved as it's sheer stupidity that a panel can decide that a COPD sufferer will 'get better' through PR sessions - that I can't get to 'cos they disallowed the DLA !

Is a disgrace year a wasted on farce of tribunral .. Am sure thay do it in hope we drop dead

Anyway glad your getting mp involed

Have been looking into dwp guidlines myself and been talking to mp about law and statutes .. Not porciline law

Might be worth having a look with ya mp

Cheers all the best

Great to see a post again from you Gordon,we've missed you!

Not so great to see what it was about! You have all my sympathys,I can feel your frustration.At least you have had a win with your electricity! Good on you.

Have to confess,don't understand about all these things you have to claim for,it is much more simple over here,thank god!

Anyway I wish you well,with it all,oh boy,those buses,sound like hell! Keep as well as you can

Love Wendells xxx

Don't think I can get there using my bus pass. Claiming is pretty simple, it's the red tape and hoops you have to jump through that stop you getting what you need....

Hi Gordon, it really worries me that someone as knowledgeable as you has such difficulties. No wonder so many of us have problems trying to get help. I am so sorry that you are having to struggle when in such obvious need. You are so articulate, what s their problem?????? Hope you get the help you need soon. :-) :-) Alison

Hi Gordin,

You've certainly not had your troubles to seek these last few months. The change of electricity supplier should give you some peace of mind though, and with the colder weather approaching, and the central heating will make a huge difference.

You've probably investigated the possibility, but have you tried applying for a free bus pass. I don't know the criteria in England, but I'm not 60 yet but managed to get one (via the blue badge route). It would save you a fortune plus I can take shorter journeys than I would if I was paying for them!

Take care


I've had a disabled persons travel pass for a while, and very handy it has been. I went to see my GP about 3 years ago now, and was so out of breath when I got there that he had the nurse do an ECG as he was worried I was having a heart attack! I spent a while in the waiting room, getting my breath back, and when I did see the doctor he asked what it was all about, why I was in that state. At the time I was not in paid work and didn't qualify for any benefits, long story, and had had to walk from the main Interchange. He told me to apply and he would sign to verify that I needed help with travel as it was no good turning up for an appointment in that state.

But, since then I've gone downhill and I know it. In fact I wish it was all downhill, walking that is, as slopes really do me in. The distance I can walk was cut back a lot just over 2 years ago when I got caught out in a bad rain storm on my way home from hospital. I ended up crawling the last 50 yards on hands and knees and was really bad with cold/flu/chest infection for a few weeks after that. I applied for DLA in the summer of 2012 when I realised how much I was struggling to get to the bus stop, never mind where I needed to go at the other end of the journey.

The bus pass is only useable if I can get the buses, and be able to complete the journey. It's fine for the DWP/ATOS/whoever to say I can manage to walk x metres and can therefore get to the bus stop, but then what ? I get off in the Interchange and it's 250 metres long, on a slope. It can take an hour or more to get to the stand for the bus to the hospital.

I've had some funny looks from people because I've caught the bus for short journeys, like the three stops from the Interchange up to the doctors, but I can't walk that far. People are too quick to make assumptions about someone's state of health and do not understand why I have a free pass or blue badge. I've obviously ticked all the boxes to get those...

Hi. I have severe copd and applied for DLA a few years ago, they turned me down because I could warm up a meal and dress myself(they did not consider how long it took me). Last year I was in hospital beinShe applied for me and within a month I was awarded full DLA.Don't give up just get someone professional to help. Good luck Sue

Just noticed the missing sentence. While I was in hospital being assessed for a lung transplant the social worker was surprised I wasn't getting DLA..........

Good to see you around, Gordon, but bewildered at all the trauma you are suffering. And it seems to go on for ever. I'll need to read your post again during the day.

I might making a silly comment, Gordon, but is it possible for you to use the voluntary car service. They are brilliant and very caring.

I am using it for my PR when Husband cant take me. Also to the Hospital. I went with Brian to be with him when he had his chemo.

You see changes in the forum. I feel it is far more helpful for the newbies, who used to be a little intimidated when they visited before. Lots of lovely people have disappeared but new ones arriving....


No such scheme in my area. There is a patient pickup service with a minibus, but it has to be booked in advance and they can come and get you at 7am and not get you home until 6pm, depending on where else they need to go.

When I originally went for a PR assessment I was happy to agree to attend twice a week as I would have been able to use the car on 3 out of 4 occasions. The wife wasn't working at all on Tuesdays and would have every alternate Friday off. In the meantime her role has changed and she's on a different rota, working every Tuesday and Friday. She comes home for dinner and could have possibly run me up for the original 2.30 start time, but the hospital put everyone on a 1.30 start and she does not get home until then.

Hi Gordon nice to see you have got your Electricity sorted , but I'm sorry to hear what you have to go through to get to the PR your buses are a night mare, we don't know how lucky we are living in Devon even our repeat prescription we can get delivered, it seems all the wrong people get help not the ones that are suffering take care an let us know how you get on lol Bliss xxx

I can get my repeat prescription taken to the chemist's from the doctors, but they are only next door to each other :) To get them delivered would cost me as I don't qualify for the free service. I'm too young :D

I don't know of hand but I don't think anyone pays down here I will have to look into that, lovely seeing your face back on a post I hope all goes well for you take care of yourself, oh I'm going to see now if I can get a blue card at the moment don't need it but worth a try lol Bliss xxxx

Oh I am in Devon Bliss. Torquay. Where are you?

Hi I'm in Willand in the middle of Cullompton an Tiverton pleased to meet you hypercat you are the first one down here that as got in touch have you been in touch with any from Devon lol Bliss xx

Hi Gordon, sorry to hear your still struggling to get things sorted. Thank you for taking the time to post a picture and update your progress. You are obviously not too well and sorting these problems is only adding to your worries.It's good news that you will get heating with the council, which will be better in the winter for yourself and it may reduce your rates as it is adaptation for disability needs,but it's a shame it's not free.Sadly disability benefits are not recognized in the new assessments for free central heating installations.And as you say the installation may cause chest difficulties from the dust.Speaking from experience travelling to hospital on public transport is an ordeal when you are ill , I was stranded on one occasion as the bus never arrived, on another time I was 11hrs for a 15min appointment with the consultant, another occasion I had to use a bus with a broken shoulder,another time I had to ring the hospital as we were stuck in a traffic jam,and on more than one occasion my breathing has been affected by the travel so I totally sympathize with you. Your right about community transport and ring and ride , they don't do hospital runs. Our ring and ride will take us to doctors but has to be booked two days before and costs 60p per journey, so is no good in an emergency.Your case is a classic example of how much tighter mobility claims have become and how the outcome can effect peoples life , after all in your case it would pay to run a car to keep you mobile wouldn,t it. ? Sorry the news is not all good every best wish hope your heating goes to plan.

I applied for a Disabled Facilities Grant via the council, more at gov.uk/disabled-facilities-... Eventually, after an initial problem at their end, assessing me for the wrong thing, we got it sorted out and the good news is that the installation is going to be free. :) I have had to sign a form to say that we will pay it back if we move out of the house within 10 years :(

The buses are becoming more of a problem now. Each time I go out I seem to be doing shorter and shorter distances before stopping to get my breath. Getting anywhere takes far too long.That's before you take into consideration the germs you're picking up by touching handrails, bells and so on, or the people who cough loudly - and all over you!

If we had the money I would be running a car, but it's beyond what we have coming in really. I could probably have bought a 'runner' then got MOT and road tax when I started my pension, but the biggest problem is running it - petrol isn't free.

Petrol's always going up, that's why people need mobility allowances,I know what you mean by picking up germs on public transport, but sadly I am one of those with a cough who uses public transport, but most of the time I am not infectious it's just a symptom of my illness, it,s what happens when my lungs are over burdened. Glad you are getting free heating your one of the lucky ones. The biggest germ spreader is sneezing. It is quicker by car /taxi than walking and buses but mobility rules don't consider how long it takes, do they? Remember if your mobility gets worse you can always apply again if you've got the energy left to go through the mill again.Good luck for the future Gordon

I get very annoyed on public transport when people cough and sneeze all over the place and don't even try to cover their mouth. One person who did was then gross enough to wipe the discharge on the pole they were holding !

To explain the heating issue. My wife gets working tax credit and I now get ESA, the WTC is because of the low combined income we have and that took us below the threshold for the Government Disabled Facilities Grant scheme, which allows for up to £30,000 of work to be done on a property to aid the disabled person. The council Occupational Therapist deemed that central heating was vital for me and we were allowed the grant. Not everyone would qualify for this of course, your joint income must be low enough and you have to be assessed. I am, of course, very grateful that we got it.

Mobility rules DO allow for the time it takes a person to walk, it's actually gauged on the manner, speed, distance and time in paragraph 61321 of the DWP decision makers guidelines at dwp.gov.uk/docs/dmgch61.pdf ;)

But, time is running out for me. I am in receipt of the low rate care component of DLA and can therefore re-apply for DLA mobility, but only until October this year I think it was. Beyond that I have to go for PIP. Because I've gone through appeals and a tribunal I now have to apply to a tribunal judge to have the decision set aside on a point of law. That's probably going to go beyond October.

Crazy that I sailed through ESA without an assessment, but that DLA is such a struggle.

That sounds absolutely disgusting what happened on the bus.Yes it is in October that old DLA claims are being reviewed for PIP, does not effect me but know many like my daughter that it does affect. Have been through the system in the past myself so understand what you mean, in them days had to apply to the commissioner for leave to appeal against the tribunals decision, it's changed now but possibly takes as long to set aside on a point of law, which as you say could run past October as it's only a couple of months away. Thanks for that info about mobility speeds ect that was not used in my case until I requested a review and suddenly was granted the allowance.DLA is a very difficult benefit to get if your disability is not clear cut, it took me twelve years of form filling before I received what I get now. Hopefully it won't take you that long good luck

I first applied in 2008, went right through to tribunal and lost - despite arriving totally shattered as I'd got off the bus at the gate to the building where the hearing was being held, only to find it locked and had to go round the block to get in, so they failed me !

The current application was made in June 2012 and, as noted, I'd have to go for PIP if I re-apply.

I went through a lot of the info in the DWP decisions makers guide when I made my application, and again when I appealed. I wrote a nice letter in November last year and covered many points that were totally overlooked at the tribunal, despite me bringing them up. There's nothing in the summary anyway.

Gordon good to hear from you however I wish I had an answer to some of your problems. You seem to have come up against a new menace in today's society, I call

it "the conspiracy of the incompetents". This translates that a large number of public

service "front line" jobs are populated by very average people who resent others who

are more clever and articulate than they will ever be. They wield their power by simply

blocking all attempts to ensure people like you receive the services they are entitled to.

I have no answer to this either except keep your cool.

On a less conspiratorial note, we had bar and new all singing and dancing central

heating installed, including moving the new boiler outside in a weatherproof and looks like a bombproof cabinet. All the floor boards were up ( our house is 109 years old) but not at the same time! Yes it made a bit of a mess and created a lot of dust, but with

doors strategically closed and open for ventilation. It all went well.

Hope yours goes as well as ours did. Good Luck Adrian

I love that expression, Beatles, 'the conspiracy of the incompetents', I think I'm going to be using it a lot from now on! :-) Unfortunately the number of incompetents and jobsworth's seems to be increasing rapidly.

My dad used to like bacon sandwiches, but not rolls. Cafe's would do bacon rolls or cheese (or whatever) sandwiches, but could my dad get a bacon sandwich! The excuse was always that it wasn't on the menu. Doh.


What do you mean a bacon sandwich?, can't you read ..we only do rolls, I dunno some people ...tut, tut ! Arghhhhhhh!

When applying for these jobs ( fantasy of course ) you must state

your lack of ambition, your total absence of empathy, your complete unwillingness to change things for the better and your undying pledge to preserve the status quo. Best Wishes Adrian

I agree that some people in positions of power take an Orwellian attitude and you must do as they say without question. The leader of the tribunal I attended is now facing an official complaint from me, for her attitude and the way she told me I'd been rejected because 'PR will make you better' - no need for that sort of thing.

As and when the guys turn up to do out heating I'll be pointing out that I have lung problems and to keep the dust down and me informed of where they are working, so I can try and avoid it ! I'm hoping it will still be fine enough to go sit outside when they do downstairs, I can take the laptop out at least.

Hi Gordon57 just a thought ask the workmen to put the visquin onto door frames to stop dust it does help on each room, we have just renovated our home and it helped

I can ask... it may be that they need to be in and out of the many areas they would have to work in. The gas pipe from the meter in the cellar to the boiler location in the back bedroom needs to be changed, it's too small they say. That means they need to have the run of the house whilst they do that.

At least if I point out the potential dust hazard they may do something about it.

Err...don't quite agree with that beatles. I have worked on the front line for many years with mainly very conscientious and able colleages. We had to follow a strict computer script. We couldn't vary it as all calls were listened to and we would get told off. I have never heard of anyone deliberately 'blocking' attempts to stop anyone getting what they are entitled to! Front line staff haven't that power...I would sometimes get customers having a go at me for explaining the rules for them. And arguing. I told them I could only explain the rules but I couldn't change them. I often agreed privately with them but could not say that. I worked for the DWP. Another problem was the amount of change we had to cope with. People did sometimes get things wrong because the rules kept changing and we had inadequate training. All front line staff for the DWP are on very tight targets (and I believe most front line jobs in any company are the same). Failure to meet the targets could mean dismissal. We were watched like hawks and constantly monitored. Blame management rather than the poor devils who have to deal with the public! It's a thankless job!

Whenever I deal with front line staff now, I am always unfailingly polite. If I am angry I will make it clear that it's not them I am angry with but the way the company is run. It is not the fault of the the poor staff who have to take all the .... that the public will dish out in their frustration.

Bev x

I agree Hypercat as a front line person you are only dealing with what you are told are the facts of the day. With all these changes going on the people that should know probably don't or interpret it wrongly. I have always found the DWP advisor has done their best maybe they tell me what I want to hear or not. Even if system is wrong on the way it deals with things the advisor has no option but to quote the rules they have in front of them. I too say to any advisor I understand you are only doing what you are told but please make some aware I am not happy.

I worked and managed a team for BT Internet on High Level complaints and had to deal with some very angry people who were not always right. I made sure that all advisor's knew the Terms and Conditions the customer had agreed to. Only then would an advisor be able to deal with complaint and recommended action.

It seems once it goes outside it all goes wrong ATOS for one. But the DWP advisor has to deal with this!

Point taken Hypercat and I also have friends who work on the front line, appreciate it is not an easy job. I am very fortunate in that I have never needed to use welfare services so I suppose it is easy for me to take pot shots. However I do take an interest in

many things and read the posts on here and listen to discussions

on the radio.

Over the years I have found it hard not to form the opinion that there IS an inordinate amount of obstructiveness and bloody minded ness amongst swathes of society.

In my job before I retired early I was a senior manager in telecommunications and I used to visit many large clients some of whom were government departments asking for help to improve their services. Over time I cam to realise that these managers were simply paying lip service to their seniors in government and had little or no intention go changing anything. Offers from me to help with progress were often ignored.

But I DO appreciate the very hard work that most people do, it's the 25% who spoil it for everyone.

Good luck Adrian

Yeah and it is the managers beatles who must take the rap. But maybe their managers have given them instructions and so on up the line. The managers don't work on the front line. That is usually the lowest paid and hardest working staff. They get paid the worst salary and take the most rubbish from customers and those above them. It's a dog life!

Bev x

Bev, Trust me I started out at the very bottom as a temporary filing clerk, as I needed a job. I worked my way up over the years to a very good job, but I had to work long hours. I knew exactly what my

team, both management and non management had to do. But I must admit I was not the norm.

But yes I agree poor management was and is the scourge of public sector services. Apologies for the

typos, it's my wife's I Pad which un-corrects my usually correct spelling !

Have a good day. Adrian

Hi Gordon It is so nice to see a post from you after a long absence,I hope its not to long before you post another blog.

I wish you well for the future.


Hello Gordon, how lovely to see you here again, I have thought of you often and was hoping you were all right but I just had a feeling you were 'up against it'...I'm so sorry for all you are going through. I have the hat and t-shirt and I know how hard it is to deal with these people who come up with statements like 'PR makes you better' it shows just how little they know or care! I have just started a course that is twice weekly and they said during our after exercise chat that PR was to help break the cycle of ....getting out of breath...leading to not doing enough exercise...leading to becoming weaker and less able to fight off colds and chest infections. They said it wouldn't make us better as such but it would help to make us stronger for when we do have to deal with exacerbations and illness.

It took me five D.L.A. applications over ten years before I was allowed to receive any help. I did not give up as I knew I was entitled to have help as you are Gordon. The worst thing for you is the stress and having to focus on how bad copd makes us feel instead of us putting our thoughts into being as well as possible.

I was wondering if your wife would perhaps share your car and she could get the bus on the days you were going to rehab and visiting your Dad? Wishing you well and good luck with the 'house warming' all the best, huffer xxxx

It's the wife's car, mine was scrapped as I couldn't afford to tax or insure it and then couldn't sell it either as people just wanted to know why there was no MOT etc. She can't use the bus as she works as a home carer, so is going all over the place in the car. She couldn't go to work without it.

Hi Gordon

Sorry to hear all the grief you are going through, it's just not right that people with a disability like yourself should be going through all this.

The process should be much easier-quicker and hassle free.

You have worked all your days and as usual paid your taxes but still when your in need it is so hard.

Keep up the good work I have every faith you will get what you deserve, keep going with it mate.

David 1968.

One of the other things to look forward to now, after the heating is installed, will be decorating. I'll not be able to do much myself as I can't do with the paint fumes and the paste would dry before I got to hang a piece of wallpaper at my speed :) Of course, the wife will want to consult with me on paint colour and wallpaper - and then go get what she wants anyway.

We need to find a carpet cleaner to hire as we know there are dark and light patches that will appear if we move things around. We will have to as the radiator is going on the wall where the settee is at present, so that will have to move.

For myself, I'd much rather move out for a few months, strip the interior of the house totally, sort out creaking floorboards, decorate from top to bottom, put some new furniture in and we'd be happy with that. It aint gonna happen that way though. Best I've done on the lottery recently is a £10.20 win on last Tuesday's Euromillions...

Gordon, hate to keep on, but check with your surgery about the voluntary car service. I thought it was throughout the country . Door to door. They do hospitals, weddings, funerals, shopping -- whatever is wanted. Minimal cost. There are 90 drivers on the local volunteers' list. I cant believe that you have that journey to do

- lend you my buggy if I could.

I did check with the hospital and they say no, there isn't such a service locally. The nearest is at Wakefield and they don't cover our area as Doncaster & Bassetlaw hospitals cross county boundaries. We have ambulances from both East Midlands and South Yorkshire. There are shuttle bus services that run between hospitals and another that operates the park and ride, where visitors and patients are expected to park at the Racecourse car park and catch the minibus from there. The only other thing they have is the 'London Taxi' service, they have 3 that are painted bright yellow and have the NHS logo on and you have to get these booked well in advance for appointments. Normally they are used for patient transfers between the three hospital sites and they don't book them for things like PR sessions. :(

That is such a shame, Gordon. I thought they were nation wide. Husband doesn't drive much at the moment, and I cant(such a thickie) so they have been useful for a lot. Reasonable prices but just wish they were available to you, Gordon. Take care x

Gordon, it's great that at last you've got electricity sorted and heating on the agenda, just in time for winter too.Hopefully you'll be able to ditch a sleeping bag or 2!

It's unbelievable that in this day and age anyone can be expected to live without central heating.

Keep up the good fight for your financial help. You may have seen Offcut finally got what he'd been fighting for - and back dated too. All the vey best to you, good luck. P

ps - I get my £200 winter fuel allowance in November (London)

The biggest benefit will be that the temperature should not drop below pre-set limits. Over the last few winters the gas heaters have been turned off overnight and it's been dipping down to icy levels indoors, really biting when you wake up and go to make a cuppa or something. By the time you've lit the fire and it's warmed the place up you could have gone into hypothermia! I had been lighting the oven and leaving the door open, we only have a small kitchen so that was the only quick way.

I need to find out just when we get the Warm Home credit. Most people paying normal bills should get it around the end of March I'm told, but we're on pre-pay and we will be spending silly amounts of money on gas through the winter. OK, we should be using less electricity as they're taking the old immersion heater out to put the new gas combi in. I don't know just how it will pan out yet.

in London I get the £200 winter fuel payment in November

Winter must come early down there :)

E-on say that most will get a credit to their bill by end of March 2014, pre-payment customers will get a letter with a code to go to the Post Office. They don't say when this will be, so I've just filled in a contact form and asked them. I've also suggested they give an automated credit to the gas card of £10 a week during the winter months as this would be much more useful to pre-pay customers. As a former computer analyst/programmer I can't see any good reason for them not to implement this.

I live without central heating peeg. I own my own flat and can't afford to put it in. I have checked and there is no help available for me either! You either have to be a pensioner or be on higher rate dla or aa or wtc but not me I'm afraid! So I have to live without. I couldn't afford to use it much anyway...

Bev x

I'd write it all up and publish a book but my memory is ... erm..

There's the patient transport scheme, and don't say it doesn't cover your area, it does, but you have to give plenty of notice, It covers every hospital in the UK , you just have to be ready when they tell you as there's no set pick up time, but your always there for your appointment. Oh! and you can claim any fares paid for a hospital appointment, ask in the general office for the claim form

Cant say about contribution based benefits,but he can use patient transport, not transfer, its there for every body, benefits or not, it is not a means tested service, and don't ague this one stitch one of my neighbours has to use it now and again and he's in full time employment, but has rheumatoid arthritis, and when it flares up he's wheel chair bound. Sometimes for weeks. So i know it's available to Gordon.

Yes, patient transfer does exist and, as I explained, you're at their mercy what times they pick up and drop off, it has to be booked well in advance and isn't available for things like PR, GP initiated X-Ray and Blood appointments and much more.

It also has to be booked through official channels by certain people who are responsible for the appointments. I can't just ring up myself and book something, even though I am still NHS badged for the hospital.

I have a disabled persons bus pass, so couldn't claim bus fare. I can't claim taxi fare for PR sessions and, as been pointed out, you can't claim taxi fares if you're on a contribution based benefit, only income based.

Daft thing here, the wife gets Working Tax Credit, which is income based, but not one of the qualifying benefits. In time this will change to Universal Credit, which will qualify.

Well up to now I've never been picked up earlier than eight am or an hour before my appointment and have never had to wait more than an hour to be picked up and taken home, i know they ask you to be ready early, but I'm up early anyway so makes no odds, bookings well in advance is no problem, and it has to be better than having to make your own way when your to damn knackered to even attempt it, to me a bit of inconvenience is well worth it, as against having no help at all.

You have a fair point, if there's a limited service then you have to accept what they can offer and if that means getting there an hour earlier than you need to then perhaps that's the best they can do.

But, it's still not possible to use this service for a lot of things, PR being just one. I am considering asking for transport when I get other appointments though.

Seems odd that i can use use it for PR and that's now been moved to Bamber Bridge, not in the hospital at all, a local medical clinic, and you can't, just don't make sense i was of the opinion it was the same across the board, according to the Yorkshire web site it covers all apps regardless, so i font know.

Believe me, I have tried. All patient transport for our hospital is handled by an office at Bassetlaw hospital in Worksop. I've been told that they will not provide transport to attend things like PR as they have such limited resources.

There are many different NHS trusts in Yorkshire, the Mid Yorkshire one, based at Wakefield, have a much better system. There's a good patient transport scheme for one of the hospices locally, but that's not open to others to use.

If anyone knows different then I'd love to hear about where to contact the service as I've been met with brick walls everywhere I've asked - hospital, PALS, doctor's, the former NHS PCT and more.

Id like to know as well, i knows the main uk office is in London, may be they can shed some light on it, my son is in Doncaster will ask him what he knows.

Yes it is, and i don't know about being nasty and of putting I've never had nothing but helpful people on the phone and i have used it for PR and Cardio Rehab, so don't know where you went wrong, never had and don't have a problem with it, and he doesn't mention patient transport in his post. Oh! and my friend Brenda uses it for physio each week.

Yes that's patient transport, and there will be one in his area it covers the whole of th uk

I'm pretty certain that there's a voluntary car service which is nationwide,it's main base is Manchester,and is booked through the hospital where your appointment is.Admittedly you may be hanging around a while,but it is available to all.

As mentioned above, this is no doubt the patient transfer service. Any voluntary service I've found so far has tended to be for a given area.

I can probably do much better getting a lift if I go to a beer festival ;)

> 35p a mile

heck Stitch, if that's all you charge I'll book you to take me to the beer festival next month, it's about 38 miles, so that's only £13.30 - cheaper than the train :D

Hi Gordon, so good to see your photo again on here and what a lot of reading I had to do just now. Glad I did though as we are also with E.On and find them to be very good. What a lot of upset and stress for you with DLA and heavens knows what else though. I do really wish you luck with your appeal as you do not deserve to be treated so badly, nobody does. I know nothing about patient services but there should be something that goes out Nationwide but then that would be too simple wouldn't it, much like the politicians who think some of these stupid things up in the first place, depriving decent people of the help they need. I despair sometimes. Thinking of you and wishing you well. Do let us know how things go. Good luck to you. Carole xx

Good to see you out here Gordon, your experiences are a help to others going through similar stuff, but bl....dy 'ell Gordon, fate ain't arf piling it on, wish I could win the lottery, I know where some of it will go x x x

Oh, this is only part of the rubbish I'm having to deal with.

My 19yo son came to live with us in April, thanks to my wonderful ex-wife's family making him homeless. It's a long story but we've been sorting things out with him, got his ID changed to this address, got him jobseekers allowance that he didn't get before, sorted out his bank account by reclaiming charges, getting him a PAYG phone because he'd been conned into an expensive contract he couldn't afford. The good news is that he's a qualified chef and has just landed a really good full time job locally. He's really excited about it all. He's been looking at flats and other things as he's been sleeping on the living room floor here, not ideal.

I've also mentioned previously that we've been threatened with re-possession because we got behind with the mortgage at a time when I lost my job and was unable to claim benefits. That's still very much in the system with a full day open court hearing set for late October and we're very frightened about that. We have a defence, we're hoping to have a barrister, it's just not knowing what the court will decide and if we could lose the house.

I've been setting myself little tasks to find cheap train travel to various places, like beer festivals. I can't go mad and get drunk out of my head as I have to travel back too, so a few half pints suffice. It's been an opportunity to me one of this site's members, Warwickstag, a couple of times already ;)

Before anyone mentions my financial troubles and wasting money on drink ('cos some will!) - I have had to start my private pension plan early to get a lump sum to pay for the legal matters, as well as the need to decorate when the central heating goes in and a little bit that was supposed to be for a holiday for me and the wife, but we've not been able to go as we've had my son to consider. It's not a massive amount of money and I didn't take the decision lightly. The ongoing pension is only a small amount and is below the level that would affect anything else, I have checked.

And, like many other people, we've yet to win the lottery !

I get occasional email from Warkwickstag to let me know where the beer festivals are, then I try to work out the cheapest way to get there - if I can. If it works out too expensive then I can't go, or as has happened with one, it takes so long to get there that's there isn't any drinking time left :(

I've been to one at Chesterfield, Barrow Hill, which is a rail shed and they have working steam trains. They laid on free buses form the main railway station to get there. The last one was in Burton on Trent in a little pub, but very well organised. I want to go to the Leeds one and meet my daughter there in a couple of weeks and I'm maybe going to Alfreton in Derbyshire, with a lift from the station already organised.

If you saw some of the working out I'd done, and the ways I found cheap fares for the trains, you'd be amazed. It give me something to do to see if the trip is do-able. ;)

If I were more able, and less restricted on finances, I would perhaps try to get to others, as long as there are no major changes of train, and therefore platforms, on the way. As it stands I can get to the station here quite easily and once on the train I get a rest for some time, until I get to my destination.

I did ask about this at the local station. Originally I was told I'd need a disabled person's railcard, which then acts as proof of eligibility for the service. As I am still battling to get DLA mobility I didn't qualify for the railcard as I only get the low rate care component.

I checked the website and found you don't need a railcard after all, but you have to book the service in advance and it's an 0845 number. I refuse to call 0845 numbers due to the cost. I'm on a cable phone at home and it's something like 12p connection charge then 11p a minute. On my mobile it's 30p a minute. I had an argument with the Jobcentre when I was claiming ESA, I called them and spent over an hour on the phone, costing me £6.45 - I didn't get to speak to anyone for the first 54 minutes! I had 0845 barred on my line after that.

Anyway, I spoke to one of the friendly staff on the platform at our station. If you're in a wheelchair they will get you off the train and help you get to lifts and other platforms. However, if it's someone like me, who walks slowly and needs to stop to get their breath, they can only walk with you - not carry you or provide a wheelchair.

If I know that I have to change train and platform on the way then I factor this in and ensure I give myself the time needed. Usually I will not know in advance what train I will be getting, it depends what time I get to the station when using an off-peak return. If I go somewhere like a beer festival then who know's what time I will get to the station, it depends on who I've been with and who I talk to on the way... :) I've been know to divert to another pub, or chippy, or whatever and get a later train.

Hi Gordon, you've probably heard of this site and I've never used it, but it might be worth a try. It lists landline numbers for a lot of 08** codes. saynoto0870.com/

There are also apps for your mobile which convert them for you. Again, I've never used them, but worth investigating?


Yes, I have used the saynoto0870 site a lot, the national rail enquiries 0845 number is listed, and several London numbers given as alternatives. I have an app installed that lets me call 0800 numbers from my mobile but not 0845.

I've sent a complaint in to National Rail and have previously had correspondence via my MP with Iain Duncan-Smith on the 0845 issue with government departments like the DWP ;)

I said I'd found that I didn't need the railcard... ;) I can get on and off trains OK, it's going from one platform to another that gets me breathless.

I've found an alternative number to the one you gave but it's an 01709 Rotherham one and seems to be specific to Virgin and/or CrossCountry., I'll check it out.

There is a Radio 4 item about it at bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01r0gjq

I'll try and find more out.

me too Medow, Gordon & Sweetthing will get a bit if I hit the jackpot :D

Hope everything works out for you Gordon, you deserve it...x

Hiya Gordon. It's great to see you here again and posting. At least you have got a couple of things sorted out. Now for the rest... Keep plugging away mate you will get there in the end. Thinking of you. Hugs

Bev xx

Slow but sure, I hope. So far I've managed to get the things I have applied for - eventually. It's taken some hassle but I'm used to that now.

I have written most of my letter to the tribunals people, I just need to go back over it and make sure I've not missed anything vital. I have pulled them up on several things they have got wrong in the summary, and asked why the detailed explanation I gave about how I got to hospital appointments was not included and my limited abilities dismissed as not qualifying. I'm bringing my MP in to it too, so she can write to them to ask to be 'kept informed'.

She's helped my son quite a bit too, helping him to get the help he needed at the jobcentre, supporting him in his attempts to get somewhere to live and also in getting some of his bank charges refunded. It's madness the banks taking £50-60 a month in charges when he only gets £56.80 a week. He's cleared the overdraft twice but then they've made the excuse he was being charged for the previous month, so it starts all over. He's getting a new account this week, with a different bank.

Because he's now working he'll have a bit more money and I'm suggesting he does not have any kind of overdraft facility so he will know that what's in the account at any time is his. He needs to keep better track of his spending, we keep having these little chats about life...

I'd much rather be spending more time on my radio shows than having to mess about with officialdom.

I've nothing I can usefully add Gordon, but I wanted to say hello and how good it is to see you again.

Lynne xx

Electric Light Orchestra Lynne - or as we say in Yorkshire - Eeee L O ! ;) I'm still on the PM's y'know.

Hello Gordon. Nice to see you posting again and I am glad the news is mostly good. x

As it's Sunday - could you please post a link to your radio show for me & the new people who've joined in the last weeks - if you have time of course. Thanks

Of course - my radio show starts at 4pm on a Sunday, replayed at 6pm Tuesday and 8pm Thursday and can be heard through replayradio.org or on mobiles and smart TV's by using TuneIn.Com and looking for 'Replay Radio' - details of the show will usually be on goldies.at.gg as well as the chance to 'listen again' for the latest show. The show is Gordons Goldies and I feature a lot of music from 1952-1992 that does not get played on other stations, the majority were top 40 hits but there are some oddities in there too :)

Hello Gordon, hope it all works out for you

That's what they said about my constipation too... :O :D

Good to see you back Gordon, hope your problems ease in the near future and you manage to make the beer festivals.

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