Charcot-Marie-Tooth UK
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Have you tried to get a Disabled Person's Railcard?

The man in the ticket office assured me I would be eligible for this, as I have a Blue Badge, and have very obvious (CMT) mobility problems. He gave me an application form.

However the form requires you to produce proof that you are receiving DLA, PIP or certain other payments/allowances, have a Motability car, or that you are deaf (or use a hearing aid!), visually impaired or suffer from epilepsy. Unfortunately none of the allowances or Motability applies to me.

A telephone call confirmed that being disabled enough to qualify for a Blue Badge (even under the current stringent conditions) and to depend on Assisted Travel cuts no ice.

If it's not on the form , it doesn't count.

I did eventually get a grudging sort-of agreement that if I could enclose a supporting letter from my consultant with my application, plus a full description of my disability, they just might consider my case. But they might not.

So now I shall have to ask my kind and helpful neurologist to write a letter, taking up his valuable time

- with no guarantee of success.

This seems completely unsatisfactory to me.

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PS I discussed this with a friend today.

She wears an NHS hearing aid ( unusually, actually attached to her skull) which enables her to hear perfectly well nearly all the time. She says she was told it would entitle her to a Disabled Person's Railcard. But she has no need for one and doesn't intend to apply. She has absolutely no mobility issues, and receives no benefits/allowances of any kind.

We agreed that the bureaucratic regulations are illogical and unfair.

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This situation is getting worse and worse.

The consultant's letter was unfortunately sent direct to the Disabled Railcard people, so they say they can't use it because it is not attached to my application form.

Further questioning of the neurologist's secretary and the Railcard people revealed that

(a) Consultants never sign letters at the local hospital; they use electronic verification instead.

(b) The Railcard people have never heard of electronic verification so won't accept anything that hasn't been properly signed by the consultant's own hand.

(c) Curiously, the Railcard people would accept a scanned version of the signed letter with an online application.

(d) The hospital secretaries don't have access to scanners

So now I'm awaiting another letter (sent direct to me as originally requested), with the neurologist's hand-written initials , as his secretary tells me he has never been known to sign anything with his full name.

The Railcard people grudgingly agree to accept that.

I started in such good time trying to book my Scotland-to-Truro train journey for early September (with Assisted Travel of course), but nearly three weeks have elapsed already. I still can't submit my application, and I'm no nearer to knowing if they'll even let me have me a card in the end.

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Today my Disabled Person's Railcard landed on my doormat. I am SO relieved. It has taken nearly five weeks from my being given the application form by the man in the station ticket office. (It normally takes up to 10 days).

It also took a great deal of persistence on my part in the face of the Railcard people's determination to adhere strictly to the conditions covered by the tick-boxes on their form.

And it took the co-operation and time of my consultant neurologist and his secretary.

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Having just done a search on disabled rail cards it came up with your posts Amanita. I am sorry you had a struggle and sorry you are not getting any of the benefits needed to qualify. I’m glad you got your card in the end though. I am lucky that I get Pip so when I applied today it was just a matter of uploading my award letter.

I am new to the world of rail travel but hoping to give it a go if I can summon up the courage especially as I am getting more and more nervous driving on the roads and will not drive anywhere any longer if I can help it. 😩🙂

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Thanks, Jud, I certainly had a few weeks of worry and frustration.

I never received DLA, as I have always worked from home (and in fact had never heard of it anyway ) and was sort-of managing physically until shortly after I was 65, when I became disqualified by age. Hence I have no access to Motability.

You may find my post about rail travel and Assistance (=patchy) somewhere here.

Very best of luck with the train travel. I hope your experiences will be good. I understand your increasing reluctance to drive.

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That is quite ridiculous when as in my wife's case just having a hearing aid gets her a card. I'm now using a wheel chair and like you seem not to be entitled to my own card.

My wife never wears her hearing aid on the train as there is too much background noise:-)

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