A disabled Dysart pensioner has criticised Fife Council after she waited almost three months to have her blue badge renewed.
Margaret Dumbreck (79), applied for her badge in the second week of January but didn’t receive her renewal until April 6 - a full 76 “anxious” days later.
As well as the lengthy waiting time Mrs Dumbreck said that a change to the assessment system meant that she felt council staff were accusing her of lying to them.
She said that after sending off her application by recorded delivery on January 14 she received a letter nine days later telling her there would be a delay. After hearing nothing she called back on March 18 and was told she needed to come in for an assessment as there had been a change to the rules so there was “insufficient information” on her application.
She said: “As well as the application I also sent a letter with it, so it could not have been more detailed. The person on the phone made me feel as if I was lying to them.”
Three days later Margaret received another call.
“It was another assessor to whom I repeated my concerns. She explained that the new rules were more stringent and that the government system now required more in depth details to be recorded, which was why I was being called for a face to face assessment.
“She said there was no question of disbelieving me, but in fact my application letter ‘gave a lot of information and was one of the most informative applications’!
“They also told me that these new rules meant that they were required to call more people in for face to face assessments. This can be quite distressing. There are people in worse condition than I am. I am disabled, but I can manage, but many people can’t and it’s just wrong to put people under this sort of stress and worry.
“The whole situation is ludicrous and I’m sure it’s purely down to them being short staffed.”
Anne Cowan, lead professional for accessible transport and concessions at the council, said: “Unfortunately we currently have up to a 12 week back log on those applications requiring a mobility assessment. We apologise for this delay and are working hard to process applications as fast as we can to clear the back log.
“We’d like to reassure applicants that being called in for a face to face mobility assessment is nothing to worry about and only means that we need more information to help us reach our decision.
“We often have to ask people to come in for a mobility assessment because their application lacks the essential detail we require.”
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