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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69362
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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HI there, my son has a severe learning disability and has been

Customer Question

HI there, my son has a severe learning disability and has been paying for his taxi transport via 'Access to work' which is dealt with by the DWP.

The claim for January was rejected by letter dated 12.02.14 as they said the support ended 08.01.14 and we have to re apply, I called to re apply 14.02.14, I was told to wait for a call back within 7 days, I stressed the urgency and asked why I had no notice of this. After 7 days I called them, wait a further 3 days, I waited etc. Now they are saying where I am calling is just a call centre, I can not speak with the correct department or a manager. My son is about to lose his transport and there for his job and we have two months worth of unpaid taxi to work bills. What can I do legally to get this sorted out urgently?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Hi.

Thank you for your question. My name is Jo and I will try to help with this.

Do they accept he needs a taxi to work in principle?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


Yes, I am trying to renew the application, he has had transport provided for the last two years and then it stopped without notice, they just made out it was a matter of updating their records, but no one will call me back I have stressed the importance that if transport stops (his taxi company have not been paid for two months) that he will lose his job.


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.

The fundamental problem with the DWP is that they are public sector workers and they have the attitude that one would expect. This will just be an issue of their administration. From what you have said, it's quite unlikely that anybody has reviewed his claim and decided that the payment is improper.

I'm sure that in the end they will revive this claim. They do not seem to be saying that it is fraudulent or that they have any concerns about it at all.

In a nutshell, your question really is how can the DWP be made to work faster. I'm afraid that there isn't really a particularly positive answer to that. They work at their own speed.

On the positive side, if the claim is revived then you will recover back payments. I know that doesn't help now but it's important to mention it.

In terms of forcing them to move faster, you can always complain as you know. The truth is that that isn't particularly quick either and probably would only reach a conclusion after they've paid again.

There is also an appeal structure but that only relates to adverse decisions and they have not made such a decision here.

I have often pondered this issue in relation to both the DWP and, in fact the DVLA. The issue for people is often not that they have made an adverse decision but that they have taken an unacceptable period of time to make a positive one. The only way that I can see that that could be appealed is to judicially review the fact of the delay and that is not an action to undertake lightly.

Alternatively, I suppose that you could sue for the sum of money that you have incurred. The penalty and that would be costs for them because they owe the money anyway.

I'm sorry this isn't the answer you wanted but it is the position that you face and I have a duty to inform you truthfully.

Hope this helps. Please let me know if you need more information.

Jo
Customer: replied 2 years ago.


I haven't got the money to pay for the taxi journeys for January and February it is £36 a day so is now £1500 approx


 


Ben is at serious risk of losing his job because he will have no means of getting there without the taxi service.


 


Is there nothing more I can do to protect his interest?

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
There is no way of going to court to force them to pay early.

The only other option if you are eligible is to apply for a budget loan here

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-social-fund-technical-guidance/the-social-fund-technical-guidance
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I don't want them to pay early I want them to process his renewal application surely he has a legal right to getting his application looked at within a given timescale.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
they are supposed to act expeditiously but there is no claim that you can bring to force them to consider his application before others.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I am expecting answers within the given timescales they have given me which they keep failing on, I am not saying they are to consider it before others, I was advised on the 14.02.14 that I would get a call back by the 21.02.14, then on that day they said it would be by the 26.02.14, then they said by the 28.02.14 and now they have said there is no one I can escalate this to, no manager to speak to , no direct number to speak to the access to work department, I have to just leave a messages with the call centre.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
No, I understand and your request is a reasonable one but the problem is that you are considering what can be done if they do not do what they should do.

Ultimately, they should act within the time limits but they regularly do not. The question is what can be done to force them to do so and unfortunately there is no application that you can make to the court to do that.

All you can do is complain which can often be very effective.

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