Ipswich: Woman’s fury at loss of mobility support

IPSWICH: When Kathy Bole was advised that her disability had got worse and she should apply for more support, she had no idea that she would end up losing her vital Motorbility allowance.

Now she is facing the loss of her car – and will have to pay much of her salary to buy her own vehicle and have it adapted for her needs.

Mrs Bole, 51, drives from her Shotley Gate home to work at the borough council office in Russell Road. She has used an electric wheelchair for three years.

She said: “Last year I was advised that because my disability had got worse I should apply for an extra carers’ allowance.

“When I applied for this I was asked to fill in a second form and was then called in for an assessment with a doctor.”

As a result of the assessment, Mrs Bole was told she was not entitled to the help she had been getting – and the Motorbility vehicle she uses.

She said: “I was told I could appeal and this has been going on over the last year. I’ve now been told that I have to hand back my car to Motorbility on December 8.”

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Mrs Bole will now have to buy her own car and have a special hoist fitted to carry on working. She said: “It means I will have to use about half of my salary just to get to and from work.

“It is not practical to use buses to get from Shotley Gate to work because they are not fully adapted to electric wheelchairs and I do not want to give up work – I was brought up to pay my own way and that is what I want to continue to do.”

Her case has been taken up by Ipswich council leader David Ellesmere, who hopes to be elected Labour MP for the town at the next general election.

He said: “It seems ridiculous that Mrs Bole went to see if she was eligible for more support and ended up having her support cut.”

Mrs Bole has also written to her own MP, South Suffolk’s Tim Yeo, to seek support in her battle to retain her vehicle from Motorbility which has a special hoist fitted.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Work and Pensions said Mrs Bole had been able to get her Motorbility car thanks to support from the Disability Living Allowance (DLA).

She said: “Disability Living Allowance is paid to help people who are unable to do things like walk or wash and dress themselves and if a person’s condition changes over many years, then they might not get the benefit anymore or they might get a different rate. People also have the right to appeal.

“We are now reforming DLA to introduce a new objective assessment and regular reviews – something lacking in the current system, to ensure people are getting the right levels of support”.

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