Author Topic: Eligibility for the local paratransit van  (Read 59 times)

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Offline agate

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  • MS diagnosed 1980
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Eligibility for the local paratransit van
« on: January 15, 2018, 04:09:38 pm »
Like many larger metropolitan communities, the city I live in offers an alternative to fixed-route transportation in the form of door-to-door paratransit vans for those who qualify. As a wheelchair user I need a lift-equiped vehicle to get to and from appointments or occasional shopping trips, and I've been using the local paratransit van service for over 8 years now.

In another city I lived in, I used a similar service for many years as well.

I'm all for this arrangement, which is much more convenient (and cheaper) than a taxi. Even though there can be long waits and major foulups in the arrangements, it's far better than having no transportation.

Here they make sure a person is eligible by having an eligibility review every 3 years. I had been through two of these and was dreading the one I knew was apt to be scheduled in March of this year.

I received the rather long form and filled it out, noting that it did mention that I'd be asked to report to their headquarters for a personal interview and a "functional outcomes assessment."

I've been through these before. They pay to transport me there and back but the process can be involved. There's an interview with someone who asks questions about why I can't ride the regular buses and trains. My doctor will have written a report at their request.

Then I might be taken outside where I'd need to navigate my way along a city street, self-propelling the wheelchair. Last time the street was cobblestones, and the sidewalk was quite uneven. There were also curbs and streetcar tracks, a regular obstacle course. And it was rainy and cold.

After that part, involving traversing a couple of blocks outside, I was taken to a simulated bus scene where I had to board a bus using a long ramp affair that had a bump in it. I couldn't hoist the wheelchair over the bump.

Once on the bus I had to position the chair on the bus as well.

After clearing these hurdles, I was notified by mail that I'd been found to be "unconditionally eligible" to ride the paratransit van. But it was time to do this again.

I filled out the form and sent it in. The next step in the process would normally be for me to receive a call scheduling an appointment for the interview.

But there was no call. Instead I had a letter in the mail telling me that I meet the criteria for unconditional eligibility. No interview this time! No special trip to their far-away headquarters!

I'm ecstatic. I won't see another eligibility review for this service until 2021. I can't imagine why they decided to skip the rest of the process this time but I'm not going to ask any questions.

They even included a form I can use to buy a lanyard or a fare holder so as to be able to have the fare handy. I'm so grateful to have escaped the personal eligibility review that I just might buy one of them.
MS Speaks--online for 13 years

SPMS, diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2001-2004. Copaxone 2007-2010.


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