This is a continuation of my last blog on welfare benefits. This post illustrates just how difficult it is to navigate your way through the benefits system. ( You can see all the posts on this subject by clicking on “Welfare Benefits “ in the Tag Cloud ) Now I have read through the thousands of pages of benefits bumph, I think I am just beginning to get the hang of all the confusing jargon. So before I before I start my Red Tape Crusade, I will take advantage of my newfound knowledge.
When I was reading through the 116 page abbreviated, simplified benefits guide, I think I found a loophole ! It is one that must have been missed by the thousands of civil servants who spend their happy hours drawing up all the rules and qualifications that make up the 5772 pages on their not so very helpful website on benefits.
It is a potential pot of gold that could give thousands of pensioners a happy winter break in Spain and save them from having to claim for Cold Weather Payments. It is about the little known TRAVEL ALLOWANCE to cover the cost of going to hospital appointments.
It is buried in the section on health benefits. Here is how to claim it :-
- First of all, you need to get yourself a hospital appointment —— just go and talk to your GP for more than 10 minutes about your poorly toe and keep going on until they send you for an X-ray or something. Now this is how you get what is called your Passport Benefit, if I have understood it right.
- Don’t go to hospital yet, this is where the loophole comes in.
- Transport to hospital is free if you have a Passport Benefit and although they say it should be by “ the cheapest means possible”, I can’t find anywhere in the 5772 pages on the Government website, where they tell you which route to hospital you must use.
- So book a taxi to the nearest airport and an EasyJet flight to Spain —- remember to ware a slipper on your poorly foot and it might be an idea to take a walking stick or a Zimmer frame, just to be convincing.
- When you arrive you will have to pay for your hotel, unless you can claim it is a specialist poorley-foot hospital.
- However, on your return from your winter break, get another taxi from the airport to your hospital appointment in the UK. Try not to look too sun-tanned and don’t bring your ‘ I love the Costa Del Sol ‘ tee shirt with you.
- Now check in at the hospital reception and submit your expenses claim for a TRAVEL ALLOWANCE ! It should work, otherwise what are Passport Benefits for?
FOOTNOTE – Please note, I hasten to add that I am no expert and anyone reading this should not take my observations or figures as fact. Hopefully before I finish this series of blogs, I will have raised awareness of some of the issues in the welfare benefits system. If you’re intending to make a claim, you should go to one of the trusted agencies like Age UK or Citizens Advice Bureau.