Monday, May 24, 2010

Woman 'not deaf enough' for a Freedom Pass

Woman 'not deaf enough' for a Freedom Pass

A FREEDOM Pass holder of 28 years from Brentford has had it taken away because she is not deaf enough.

Christina Williams, of Hazel Close, told The Chronicle of her anger at Hounslow Council for withdrawing the ticket for free travel.

The 44-year-old teaching assistant at Woodbridge Park Education Centre said: "I have had problems with my hearing since I was six, it's a damaged nerve and it's never going to go away.

"This will affect my independence, it means I don't have to rely on people. Why give it to me in the first place, it's the principle of this that has annoyed me."

The mother of two has hearing problems in both ears and has to use a hearing aid. She says she has submitted three audiograms to Hounslow Council as well as appealing the decision three times but has had no success in overturning the decision.

After receiving correspondence from the council, Miss Williams claims to be only 2dBHL off being entitled to a pass under the new criteria.

She said: "They have told me I have only mild to moderate hearing loss, if this was the case as they say then why do I need a hearing aid and a loop installed in my home? Why after 28 years have they decided to take it now and why wait this long to change their policies?"

She is not the first reader to get in contact with The Chronicle, Yvonne Chappell, 39, of Bath Road in Hounslow was told her IQ was not low enough to be given a pass when she reapplied.

A spokesman from Hounslow Council said: “The Government sets clear criteria for those with hearing difficulties applying for a Freedom Pass. Unfortunately for Mrs Williams, she does not meet these. Her disappointment is understandable, but we hope she appreciates that these criteria are there to make sure the system helps those who need it most.”