Council fines man in wheelchair £75 for not giving enough evidence he’s disabled

A council fined a man in a wheelchair £75 after he didn't provide enough evidence of his disability , according to reports.

Maidstone Borough Council has been criticised for the fine after refusing the man's request to join the register for an accessible home.

An investigation found fault with the way the council considered evidence, and also failed to follow its own policy by asking him to pay.

Now the local government and social care ombudsman has asked the Kent council to pay the man – who has not been named – £250 for the distress caused to him and his family.

The council charges for a second medical assessment if there has not been a "significant change" in their condition.

However, the man did not want a new medical exam but he wanted a review of how the council made its decision.

Applicants were given 21 days to ask for a review until the council reduced this to 14.

The Ombudsman criticised the move, saying it does not take into account people with restricted internet access who rely on the post.

Local government and social care ombudsman Michael King said: "If the council routinely asks people to pay a fee on any decision where there has been an assessment by an independent medical advisor, people are potentially losing their right to ask for a review at no cost.

"Many people in the area may have been discouraged from asking for a review by the outlay.

"I welcome the steps the council has already taken to rectify the situation for the family, and hope the additional recommendations I have made will help ensure other families are not affected by the failings I have identified."

Since the investigation, Maidstone Borough Council has carried out a review of the application to ensure the man does not miss out on bidding for suitable properties.

The council has issued a public notice about the report, stating: "Maidstone Borough Council has implemented the action recommended by the ombudsman including an apology to the complainant and providing additional training for staff.

"The council must now consider the report and tell the ombudsman within three months (or such longer period as the ombudsman may agree) what it proposes to do."

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