Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Nayu's Feature Post #2 Motability cars & PIP assessments

Morning/afternoon/evening all! Whatever time of day it is I hope you have a great Wednesday.  Feature posts was the best category to put this post in, which is not craft related but a topic I'd like to talk about. 

Please note this is a necessarily long post. Originally I wasn't going to say anything about getting a new car, as it's a luxury many can't afford. However, I'm blessed by the Motability UK scheme which allows eligible disabled people to have a car which is paid by a certain benefit. If you ever want to donate to a good cause Motability is a charity to support. 
It really does!
So long as you have the higher rate Disability Living Allowance or the enhanced rate of Personal Independance Payment (PIP) you qualify for a car with Motability. A lot of the cars have nil advance payment (down payment). Motability simply take the DLA/PIP money each month so I can have a car. If you need them there are many adaptions that can be added to make driving easier. If you personally can't drive you can still have a car with a nominated driver. All you have to pay for is an excess if you need to make an insurance claim, and petrol. That's it! I'm getting my new one today!!!! 
There's no MOT cost, no tax cost (I'm actually tax exempt because I'm registered disabled), no service cost. There are some things that may need payment (I don't know about broken windscreens/wipers), but I don't know them offhand. I couldn't afford a car without Motability. It gave me my independence, meaning that I could actually get a job (currently self-employed), whih was necessary since I live in a village with no suitable jobs here. I can see my friends whenever I want, and take myself to medical appointments.

Double and triple check all your PIP application info
Time for a brief talk about PIP. This year I finally had my PIP assessment. PIP is replacing DLA. There are lots of horror stories about PIP assessments, but I know they are much better than they were when they first started. Don't go online and read anything about it, if you have to have one. Do get support from a medical professional. Not only do you need them for evidence about your disability, they provide emotional support through what is a stressful progress. I underestimated the stress of it.

The whole process, once I sent the application in, took about 3 months. It's possible to get an extension on the deadline, which I did since I was unwell for a little bit so couldn't do it.  I did pay postage so I could do signed and tracked delivery (they provide an envelope with postage paid but I need reassurance that it got where it needed to). My specialist nurse checked through my 8000+ word essay (all my answers). It took well over 12 hours on my account to finish it (writing it all, making changes, printing & sticking onto the form). The waiting was hard. I did get a letter or two from PIP saying that they were still considering my claim, which was nice of them. I'd signed up to the text service, which kept me updated with each stage too. 

Once I sent it off I didn't have to wait long for an assessment (which I'm sure they say can take up to 16 weeks to happen). You can reschedule at least once, which I did. Do ask what centers are near you, as they may not give you an appointment at the closest. I was automatically given Swindon yet my nearest was Reading & Theale, which are far closer to home. Theale had a super lovely team. I expected really stern doctors, but got a lovely female doctor who put me at ease. 
Assessments vary in time, they often go over material you've put in the application but that's normal. My took under 30 minutes. Then I anxiously waited for the result. I was fully prepared if I didn't get enough points to keep my car, but I was so pleased when I got the news I'd met the criteria needed to keep it. I'll be reassessed in a few years (no indefinite awards even if your condition won't ever improve), and until them am happily using my Motability car! No more dreading brown envelopes in the post! I know I'm one of the fortunate ones, many have got what they needed through the appeal process. Make sure you put everything down in the form, no matter how small the detail. 
Bye envelope of doom!
As a Motability customer I have the RAC for my insurance needs (which are all take care of by Motability). If you need help with your car just give the RAC a call and they'll help out (you'll get a tiny leaflet with the right number for a Motability customer). Years ago I did have an accident which wasn't my fault. Motability were amazing. I simply called the RAC who kept calling to let me know how far away they were. I got a replacement car quickly, and to my delight it was a top brand car (think it was Mercedes) which are a dream to drive! I was sad to return it but happy that my car was fixed. I've had a bird randomly fly up and take my wing mirror off, but I didn't claim insurance as it wasn't really worth the exceess. 
I've had a car with Motability for over 10 years now. I get a new one every 3 years. I've always been with Ford, first I had a Fusion, and now I have a B-Max. I've had purple, silver, and mid blue. This time I'm having black! It's been a colour I've really wanted for a while now (& it's nice to have a change). Black isn't always ideal in the dark, but I never drive at night (too tired & can't see as well as during the day), so that's not really a problem. 
This will be mine by the end of today!
It means so much to me to have a car through Motability, and I know it gives freedom to thousands of disabled people. Motability even had a scheme where they paid for 50 driving lessons for me, and 3 attempts at both the practical and theory driving test. It took me 3 attempts for the practical, and I did have to pay for extra lessons, but I got there eventually. I don't know if they still offer this scheme now, or the one positive of being disabled by being able to learn to drive a year before other people (I learnt when I was at uni), but I am forever indebted to Motability for giving me independence. This isn't a sponsored post in any way, I just want to let you know about what Motability does for me, and to consider it as a worthwhile charity to donate to. 

This seemed a post appropriate ending phrase!

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