Is your Freedom Pass running out soon?
Many deaf freedom pass holders found out the hard way their pass had been cancelled by the London Borough of Bromley as they tried to use it?!
One of our staffs regular service users found out this way and stomped down to the Civic Centre to find many Deaf people with the same complaint.
What was happening? They were told that they had probably received a letter telling you that it will expire in within 3 months... But if written English is not your first language, this information could be put to one side and not fully understood. Have you got a letter?
In order to eliminate as many cases of missed renewal deadlines as possible, our team rolled up their sleeves to sort it out this problem. Renewals can be done online, but if you prefer paper format, and to go through the form with someone to make sure all is correct, then keep a copy as proof…Please read the following information written by one of our Communication Support Workers:
Freedom Pass renewal form
If you are having problems renewing your Disabled Freedom Pass because you didn’t receive the Freedom Pass renewal forms in the post; from your local Council. Many of you will have had your Freedom Passes blocked, even if it doesn’t expire until 31.3.2020!!
Deaf person explained that their Freedom Pass would not work on the bus, so I suggested we contacted the local council with an interpreted call.
A council worker said this was the procedure:
Council - Freedom Pass renewal forms were sent out by post in December 2019.
CSW – Form not received to my home.
Council - Freedom Pass blocked - If form is not returned, we assume person may have moved out of the borough.
CSW - Freedom Pass doesn’t expire until 31.03.2020 and renewal form had not been received, so I am unable to return what I don’t have?
Council - Apologised, but form sent.
CSW – Are you tell me that whilst this is sorted out my Freedom pass cannot be used as its blocked?
Council – Another renewal form will be sent and will take 6-8 weeks to process, during this time travel will need to be paid for by you.
I suggested speeding things up and we went to the Council office and asked for a Freedom Pass renewal form, and collected additional ones for friends who hadn’t received form either!.
We worked together to complete the renewal form, we checked information & ensured correct proof of I.D. was attached and went back to the Council office with the form.
I was given a ticket to wait my turn. At my turn I explained all of above to the receptionist and that the renewal form had not been received by me and many of my friends and therefore we are all unable to return a renewal form?! Now my Freedom Pass is blocked even though it doesn’t expire until 31.03.2020.
The receptionist said she had received an email from the processing office to say if people came in and had not received renewal forms, Freedom passes would be fast tracked and take approximately 2 weeks for processing. She had to complete an online form to request fast track, which she did and copied details from the renewal form and asked for my telephone number. I asked for text only to be added as I’m unable to answer calls. The receptionist said she would pass the details and form on.
I asked if the renewal form could be checked by the processing department to ensure the fast track was correct and no further information was needed before she left.
The form was checked – all correct – told Freedom Pass would be delivered in approximately 2 weeks.
I informed the receptionist that it was likely that several more deaf people would be coming in to renew forms.
Freedom Pass Renewal Form - SUGGESTIONS
Allow plenty of time to process
Note in diary or phone, 8 weeks before Freedom Pass expires – apply online or pick up a renewal form at Council office.
Online application - Telephone number has to be added on form, but cannot type text only as it will not allow you to move to the next section of form.
Renewal form - Paper format - Ask for a receipt if handing in forms at Council office.
Queries – person can contact by Type talk to Council, but can be a long wait to get through!
Emailing Council – allow time for reply – up to a week.
Authorising someone to talk on clients behalf – client to email council, giving name of person.
Follow up 1 week later to confirm form is received.
“Kim How you feel about freedom pass problem?”
“I’m lucky my CSW sorted all for me, if I had to do myself, communication would be difficult face-face as I have to write on paper and if using type talk it’s difficult as too fast.”
Good luck everyone and spread the word..!