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If you drive, you can't be disabled?

MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
I won my Tribunal appeal but both the doctor and the judge thought that driving indicates a low level of disability.  I had to stress that I make only a few, very short car journeys a week.  And a number of other community members have reported similar experiences.  Some disabled people would be housebound if they didn't drive.  Why is there this apparently new view that someone who drives can't be very disabled?


  • NystagmiteNystagmite Member Posts: 609 Pioneering
    I was asked this at my assessment. She was also implying that I was lying about this. Hmm, considering my parents were told when I was a child I won't be able to drive and I was told the same at 18, bit difficult for me to hold a licence.

    It does indicate that you can do things like plan and follow a journey and have a degree of concentration and possibly a few other things.
  • TopkittenTopkitten Member Posts: 1,070 Pioneering
    I would be completely housebound without my car. It just seems that these stupid people have no idea at all what it means to be disabled. What qualifies them to judge us?

    "I'm on the wrong side of heaven and the righteous side of hell" - from Wrong side of heaven by Five Finger Death Punch.
  • Barrylad1957Barrylad1957 Member Posts: 100 Courageous
    Congratulations on your success! Its a bit like the good old "if you can use public transport, you can't be suffering from anxiety" thing, and "if you share your life with a dog you can't really be disabled", which seem to be just two of the new weapons of choice that "assessors" are trialling where I live. I suppose that the fact that there was a totally workable and functioning system called 'Motability' that was working just fine for years sort of proves that people suffering from disabling health conditions are, in fact, more than capable of driving. Well done Matilda, I hope your award gives you a better standard of life mate.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger

    Thank you very much.  Though these were Tribunal members, not assessors, challenging the level of my disability because I do drive a bit.

    And, yes, what is the point of Motability if no disabled people are capable of driving?
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes, @Topkitten.  I wonder how many disabled people sit on Tribunals, let alone work as assessors.? Not many, if any.

    There's a Native American proverb that says don't judge someone until you have walked two moons in their shoes.
  • CockneyRebelCockneyRebel Community champion Posts: 5,256 Disability Gamechanger
    It gives me great pleasure pulling into the BB parking in  ASDA. Especially on a sunny day with the top down on my convertable. Look at the indignant folks tutting etc. They soon change when I get out, toting an oxygen cylinder and two walking sticks. Small pleasures but I will take what I can get  :)  
    Be all you can be, make  every day count. Namaste
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger

    In my case, I didn't even claim any lack of ability to plan journeys, etc, or have any concentration problems.  The Atos paramedic put in her report that ability to drive indicates a certain level of strength which meant I couldn't have much difficulty washing, dressing etc.  In my MR I pointed out that more complex movements are required to wash/dress than to drive an auto car with power steering.  So, in the MR decision DWP dropped that and instead said that I had strength because I could do the easy-peasy exercises quite well.   The paramedic didn't give me any difficult exercises because she wanted me to pass this test!
  • MarkmywordsMarkmywords Member Posts: 407 Pioneering
    I never had this. I'd expect it from #Team-lies. ;) I wouldn't expect it from a Tribunal.

    Actually I have a large automatic 4x4. I climb up to get into it and slide out of it onto my feet as my hips don't rotate far anymore. I can't drive a manual for long.

    Perhaps this was a test to find out what the response would be. If so then that is really sad.
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger

    Perhaps - Tribunals are supposed to be challenging and play devil's advocate.  They certainly gave me a grilling.

    I expected an inquisition - but this line of questioning certainly could upset some people.

    I did get the impression that the doc and the judge genuinely thought that driving capability can indicate low-level disability.  Maybe this is a fashionable theory.
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  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger

    I agree.  And there is a lack of disability awareness amongst people who ought to know better such as hospital staff.  At a hospital I attend the phlebotomy department has decided that patients who attend for a blood test other than on the day of an outpatient appointment, instead of going to the main hospital rather should go to the phlebotomy walk-in centre "which is only three or four minutes' walk away"!  Three or four minutes' walk for a young, fit person maybe.  The main hospital is a much more convenient location for disabled people for many reasons.  I pointed out to a phlebotomist that I have serious mobility difficulties and she looked stunned.  No hospital outpatient could have serious mobility difficulties, could they?  I still attend the main hospital for blood tests regardless of whether I have a doctor's appointment on that day.  And this is a teaching hospital with a top reputation, 5* Trust, etc.
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering

    Hi @Matilda

    Glad the appeal was won! But on this note - I totally agree that it is outrageous that Tribunals are making this kind of inference.

    There has been a fair amount of mention on this forum of 'errors of law' which may be challengeable to the Upper Tribunal (I'm sure you've seen some of it!) - so if an appeal was refused on the basis of an assumption like this i.e. 'this person can drive therefore they can't be that disabled' then I think that would be an error of law which would give rise to a further right of appeal...

    Although appealing to the UT is a pain as it drags the whole process out, a good thing is that the First-tier Judge who's decision is appealed no doubt learns a valuable lesson in assumptions!

    You don't need to appeal though!

    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • MatildaMatilda Member Posts: 2,616 Disability Gamechanger
    Thank you, @BenefitsTrainingCo.  That's interesting.  Strange that Tribunals are now making such assumptions - when for many years disabled drivers have qualified for Motability cars!
  • BenefitsTrainingCoBenefitsTrainingCo Member Posts: 2,692 Pioneering
    I know - it's utter nonsense.
    The Benefits Training Co:
    Paul Bradley
    Michael Chambers
    Will Hadwen
    Sarah Hayle
    Maria Solomon
    David Stickland
  • clarabelleclarabelle Member Posts: 71 Connected
    Some of these comments ate really encoraging really driving.  I'm waiting for yhe dvla to send back a response regarding my driving license. If they say with adjustments I can have an assessment. My arms and hands are weak and stop working after repetitive movements and walking is excruciating as the spine in my neck is collapsed.  I'm hoping there is a car that I can drive safely so I can out a bit, even if only locally. 
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