A DISABLED grandfather, who claimed he was wrongfully stripped of benefits for a “vital” Motability car, has won his nine-month battle to get the payments reinstated.
Bob Bavister, of Artists Way, was told by a tribunal that the Department of Work and Pensions would be forced to reinstate his enhanced Personal Independence Payment (PIP) – just hours before he was due to attend a hearing in Southampton.
The grandfather-of-four, who suffers from a rare debilitating condition called hereditary spastic paraplegia, lost both the benefit and his specially adapted BMW motor car following a mandatory assessment in September last year.
According to an assessor, the hard-working 58-year-old could walk “more than 20 metres aided or unaided” – which Mr Bavister says he cannot.
He was subsequently stripped of his enhanced benefit, which allows him to pay for a disabilityfriendly vehicle under the government’s Motability scheme.
But following a nine-month battle, in which the divorcee collected evidence, including doctors’ notes, Mr Bavister was finally told he would have his payments returned.
He said: “I’m over the moon.
“The tribunal service called me at about noon, about three hours before I was meant to be in Southampton, and told me they’d looked at the evidence and they didn’t need to see me.
“It saved me a trip but I still would have liked to have made my point.
“What annoys me is that I don’t feel like anyone has listened.
“It’s all hinged on the fact that I can walk 20 metres aided on unaided and I’ve told them several times I can’t.
“No-one has ever asked me to do it and if they did they would be able to see that I can’t.”
Mr Bavister’s problems began in September last year, just weeks after he signed up to a new Motability car.
For the previous 10 years, the father-of-three had used his enhanced payments to run and maintain his own specially-adapted Toyota Rav 4.
However, with the car ageing, and the offer of a new car on the table, Mr Bavister decided to make the switch. But just weeks after selling his old car and agreeing a deal on a new Motability car, the 58-year-old was told he would need to undertake an assessment.
Following the meeting, he was “shocked” to be told he was no longer eligible for the scheme and would lose his payments.
He was subsequently forced to give up his new car in December.
With no specially-adapted vehicle, Mr Bavister had to spend £6,000 to buy another car, for his work as an electrical estimator in Whitchurch.
Meanwhile, he continued to fight the DWP to get back his payments.
He said: “At first I thought I had no chance of winning. But I knew I was in the right and once I got that doubt out of my mind I decided to keep going.”
After his appeal failed, Mr Bavister decided to contest the decision through HM Courts and Tribunals Service.
The 58-year-old provided a raft of evidence to the tribunal, who overturned the DWP’s decision.
The DWP has subsequently backdated Mr Bavister’s payments and the grandfather-of-four says he will now re-join the Motability scheme.
However, the Andover resident is now seeking £12,000 in compensation.
Mr Bavister says the figure, which includes payments for loss of earnings, the money lost on buying and selling a temporary car and the stress on him and his family, will help to repair the financial and emotional damage caused.
A DWP spokesperson said: “Decisions for PIP are made after considering all the information provided by the claimant and their GP or medical specialist.
“Following the tribunal decision, Mr Bavister was paid the difference between the standard rate and the enhanced rate of the mobility component for the period 16/11/2016 to 30/03/2017.
“Anyone who disagrees with the outcome of their assessment can appeal.”