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i cant believe the government are using the sickest people in society to pull money back but fund banks. i recently was reviewed for my dla after 2 yrs on highest benefit and it was stopped completely because a doctor from my surgery that i had only ever seen once before ,and who treated me like a scrounger put in her report that she couldnt comment on my case and editorialised a report from a consultant at the hospital. so my benefit was stopped until i can go to a tribunal which i have been waiting to be seen by for four months now and im told in some cases take upto a year,but luckily the judge will see my case earlier because i have the right proof of my illness!! but in the mean time i have had to run a house/food/bills on £23 per week.....i cant work im ill !! so all those people that think all benefit recipients are scroungers and get things easy run your home on £23 and tell me how easy things really are !!! a medical services doctor asked me to walk 3 steps with a zimmer frame and decided i would be able to walk 200 mtrs before i would experience any pain,i did a formal complaint but cant persue it any further as the doctor states he cannot remeber my case !!! my suggestion is video any home medical assessments.
DLA - Disability Living Allowance. ~ DLA and my need to apply ~ After some years I was finally diagnosed with Arthritis. Subsequently in the last 2 years I've found it increasingly difficult with certain jobs, and so took the decision at the beginning of the year to go for Disability Living Allowance. I will try and keep this review as short as possible, but there are a number of sections involved with DLA, which does increase the need to try and cover all areas if possible. ~ Just what is DLA? ~ Disability living allowance (DLA) is for people who either: Have a physical or mental illness, or both. The disability is severe enough to need help caring for yourself, and/or help while walking and difficulty walking. You are under 65 years age when you claim This is a form of benefit in two main parts. They are for Care and mobility and depending on your illness you will get either both, or one of these elements. The two main components are then broken down further into levels of need, with Care being Lower, Middle or High care. Mobility offers just two levels of need, lower and Higher rate. It is a tax-free benefit and isn't means tested although some savings might affect the amount you might get. I've not heard of anyone being affected directly because of it, and the DLA website doesn't give any more information about what these 'savings' might be! I won't list the amounts since they are changed each year, but they are readily available online or via other sources (Job centres, advice centres etc). If you are 65 or over you might still be eligible for a benefit known as Attendance Allowance. ~ The initial forms ~ I used a local welfare rights service that offers it services for free. Ours is through the local council and they are set up specifically to help people through the minefield of benefits available to you. They will fill the forms in with you; go to appeal if needed and generally just advise you on what benefits you can go for, and what you can't. I was also shocked at the initial appointment to find my father was perfectly eligible for something called the Attendance Allowance due to Parkinson's disease and could have applied years before. So much for the elderly being assured they are given all the information needed to get all monies due to them via the benefits system. But that's a different rant.......... So, my initial advice is either find a local welfare rights or advice centre local to you if you, or someone in your family has an illness or disability but they are not yet claiming DLA or Attendance Allowance for the condition. If you can't find a welfare service as such, please do take the time to go to the CAB (Citizen's advice Bureau) since they will also be in a position to help and advise. I feel this is invaluable for anyone, no matter how confident you might be filling these forms in. The forms have apparently been recently simplified but it's still a fairly hefty piece of paperwork to get through, and it's not always easy to try and work out how to judge your condition against the questions being asked. Our welfare centre gives a simple but effective piece of advice on this. When trying to judge how you are affected daily, think to before your illness (If relevant) and take that as you base line. Then compare that to the same activities today. So, for example - Before illness you would take a bath every day, but mobility now limits your use to once a week. Therefore you are struggling to use the bath 6 out of 7 days. The doctor is also contacted to give an assessment of your condition, and this is where I would also advise you go in and talk to a doctor before you apply since many of these tasks aren't something they would be aware of just by your visits and information taken from your records, but this can also cause problems in its own right (See later for my experience on this and what can happen and apparently often does). ~ So the forms go in, now what? ~ And now you wait. The DLA say they will usually go through a form within 11 weeks on receiving the information, although they are also reliant on the doctors getting back with their report to them if needed and possibly a medical examination from a DLA nominated doctor as well. My experience was it was 4 weeks when they got back to me having made the decision to refuse the application outright on the information given by my doctor. I admit, hearing it was the doctors information that had caused my application to be rejected was a shock to me especially considering they were the ones who kept pushing me to apply, and I quickly made an appointment to see my usual doctor and also with the Welfare Rights Service to appeal against the decision. It was at this stage I discovered a real problem with the DLA asking for information from the doctors, and subsequently I've found out this is something that has happened to quite a few people. Basically, although I gave a specific doctors name within my surgery, the DLA rarely address to a specific doctor when asking for this information. This meant my DLA request for information went to a doctor in the practice, who for all the 3 years I've been there has never seen me! Much less know anything much about my condition apart from some very basic letters from the specialist giving the illness details! This meant the information was limited, and so wasn't a true indication of my condition in the way the DLA going about assessing it all. As mentioned, this is not unique to me, and I would urge anyone to just ask the doctor to put a note against your records about this - before you apply. This way, the form is more likely to go to the doctor who knows you, not just the most available to fill the form in. You might need to have a medical. I didn't, but I could still be called in at any time for a review, even though my award is for a specified length of time. I'm quite surprised I didn't have a medical, although it might be it wasn't all that long ago I had one for the Incapacity benefit agency and this information might have helped. But, be prepared to have one...... Most people I know have had some sort of medical before a decision is made. ~ Depending on your decision ~ Now, the decision you get means you have a variety of options afterwards. The first is if they refuse your application. You can ask for them to simply reconsider the decision and look at the information supplied again. This isn't as effective as going to appeal, but generally doesn't take as long. It's not a route I've used so I can't give any further information about the procedure. Going to appeal is the next option. This means you can include further information (as I did from my doctors). This information is then reassessed and they will either allow the decision in your favour - as was the case for me - or you will be required to appear before a panel. This usually consists of a doctor, a lawyer and another member of the public in a certain job or position. All are apparently independent of the DLA and they will ask you questions about your condition. You can also have someone else with you to help give further information you might feel are needed. This can include a representative from an organisation like the Welfare right service, a carer or others who know you and your condition. The decision is made on the day, and once you've gone to appeal you cannot appeal further unless it's a point of law. You can however apply again for DLA if the appeal goes against you. However, this will be considered as a new claim and so the money is not backdated. However, if a claim is successful - either at appeal or by requesting it is looked at again - this means the payment is backdated to when your application was either sent in (if done via online or the print outs from the internet) or the date you applied to have the documents sent from the DLA. Hopefully though your application will be successful. ~ The DLA rates and what it means ~ As mentioned, you can get different DLA rates, and these will decide some factors for you. If you get the lower rate for care and/or mobility you might gain additional help from Income support but no more than that. See your local Job Centre Plus for more details if awarded the lower rates. However, if your care rate is either the middle or highest component, you can have someone apply as a carer for you for what is known as Carers Allowance. This can be a family member, friend - even a neighbour, in fact, anyone who can give up to 35 hours or more a week to help look after your care. This means that a husband and wife who might both have the care component can also apply as each other's carers. If you gain the higher rate mobility allowance, you can then apply to either: Use all or some of the money towards a mobility car. Use it towards the costs of running your own vehicle. There are pro's and con's for both systems, and since each persons needs vary I would advise you to look at them both carefully before making a decision. If you decide to use your own vehicle or a relatives, if this vehicle is driven solely for the purpose towards the person getting the benefit you can apply for a road tax rebate. This though can only be done if the vehicle is used for the disabled person. It doesn't mean they have to be in the car each time it is driven, but it has to be used for their needs. For example someone going shopping for you, or perhaps picking up a prescription. Again, you need to look at this carefully before deciding whether to go ahead with this. If you get mobility component to your DLA, you can also apply for a blue badge for disabled parking. This can still be applied for if you have the support of your doctor if you don't get mobility DLA - but isn't a foregone conclusion and will take longer to process. However, if you are entitled for a Blue Badge for parking you have to apply for this via your local county council - not the DLA. ~ Final thoughts ~ I admit I was adamant I didn't want DLA for ages, and couldn't see how it would help me day to day. I couldn't have been more wrong and I would encourage anyone who has either an illness or disability and hasn't applied to do so. I would also encourage everyone to check with older relatives who might have illness and disability to check to see if they are getting Attendance Allowance and advise them to apply for it. It's not just the difference financially that this has made to me, but also the difference in other smaller and more unexpected ways. It took some doing to get there, but I'm pleased I did eventually decide to go ahead and apply. My only regret is I didn't do it sooner! DLA, it might not be the easiest benefit to apply for, but it certainly is the most worthwhile for anyone who has mobility and care problems. http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/FinancialSupport/DG_10011731 For more information.
skip this first bit to be able to read the review with capital letters intact. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. a. < br> About ten years ago, the government decided that not enough people were claiming this allowance, that were entitled to, so they decided to do a large advert, repeated over and over, aimed at the sort of people that would be entitled to it, and stressing how easy it was to claim. Hundreds of people responded to this, and the department were unable to cope with the sheer volume of claims. Some people waited for six months or more just to get a reply. After a big fuss had been kicked up, it was decided they would take on more staff, and they worked till eight at night, and all week-end. Needless to say, the campaign on the TV was stopped. When the forms were sent out, people were shocked at the size of these, and a more accurate description would have been two books. They are slightly larger than a-four paper, and the first booklet consists of fourteen pages. The information asked for starts off quite straight forward, name, address,age,national insurance number,etc. Then it asks about your medication, and illness, also many questions about other money's you may have, or have applied for. They ask about your partner, what income, if any, does he/she, have. The name of your doctor and any hospital treatment is asked for. Quite reasonable so far, you may think. There is a box to be filled in from a person who knows you, and they have to fill it in, and make a brief statement about their opinion of your illness, fill in there name and address, etc. Then we come to the second booklet, this consists of twenty three pages, and once again you are asked for your name and address, national insurance, in fact, all that has been covered in the previous booklet. It asks you to describe about the problems you might have when outside and how many days a week would you need someone with you when outdoors. It devotes a whole page to falls and stumbles, where, when, and why. The e xact wording in one box is...why do you fall or stumble? Tell us where you might fall or stumble, (just outside the pub?). Then another box asks describe in your own words the problems you have, and the help you need when you fall or stumble, the next box asks how often do you fall or stumble. Now if you haven't fell asleep reading this, I assume you can see a pattern emerging of repetition. Mind numbing in fact. When you are filling this in, maybe after taking pain killers, etc, you get the feeling you have been here before. They ask about moving about indoors, describe the problems and what help is needed, over and over again. What adaptations do you have, how many days do you need help, questions you have answered about four times already. There are many more, too numerous to write, but the worst part, at least for me, was on page nineteen, what you do or would if you had the help that you need, when you go out in the day, or evening. It asks the same question about three times on the form, and you start to wonder if it's a catch question, is it maybe worded differently, and you find your self going over and over these question. Then it does exactly the same on the next page, over and over again. The point I am trying to make is that this form is not just time consuming, its brain numbing, and when a person is not well, it's like a nightmare. They ask for yet another person to make a statement, etc; I think you must be getting an idea of what I mean. When I first filled one in, my pain killers were not too strong, so I was able to complete it, but felt shattered after. I once offered an elderly lady to help her fill hers in as it was obvious she was bewildered, but people have there pride, and am reluctant to discuss personal problems with other people. They should change the system somehow, at least remove some of the questions that have been already asked. After all we find it hard to admit to ourselves that we need help, without having to repeat it like a mantra. 'I hope some of you are still awake after reading this, and thanks for the time.
This benefit is the follow on from, and includes, Mobility Allowance and, to some degree, Attendance Allowance. This benefit has a mobility component, set at 2 levels, Higher and Lower, and a care component with three different levels, Low, Medium and High, surprisingly simple names considering they was thought up by the DSS. It is an allowance that is given in an attempt to assist people with mobility or care problems. Of course, as the levels suggest, and life shows, everyone has a different level of ability, or disability, and the aim of this benefit is to help pay for the person to live life as near “normal” as is possible. The care component could, for example, help towards paying for someone to look after the person in their own home, which is both cheaper and preferable to being in hospital or in a home. The amount payable at each level is: (as at December 2001) “A WEEK”. Care Low… £14.65 Medium… £37.00 High… £55.30 Mobility Lower… £14.65 Higher… £38.65 As you can see the amounts available can make a massive difference to the standard of life for a disabled person. This allowance is not a “means tested” one, that means it does not matter if you have savings in the bank. It is also an allowance that is not taken in to account, as an income, when applying for rebates on rent, council tax or such. It should also be said that just because you are entitled to this benefit you are not automatically entitled to any further benefits, as suggested above. The one thing that is a deciding factor in getting this benefit is a medical, by a doctor named and arranged by the benefits agency and his/her report as to your ability. Many will claim you have to be unable to walk or make a hot drink for yourself to be able to get this money, that is not the case. The reason for the different levels is because there are differen t levels of ability, as I said before. All you do need is to be disabled, honest about the effect that has on your life and be able, and willing, to show/prove this to the doctor. There is a leaflet that lays down some guidelines to help you self assess if you might be eligible to claim and in that they say things like. “Able to walk more than 50mts” “Climb stairs” “Take care of your own toiletry needs, day and/or night” or “Need help getting dressed” etc. These are, as I say, only guidelines and not rules. Everyone I know with this benefit, including myself, have very varied abilities but we all are restricted by our condition/disability. Many of the things I was asked about, during my medical examination, I could do, but not without additional pain, and not for any length of time. In most cases the doctors asked me anyway, but simply by explaining this the doctor could see I was not trying to make my problems seem worse than they really were. I have found that most of the doctors are not set on proving you are well enough to live without help but have to be sure, after all that is what they are employed to do. Anyone trying to fool the doctor will, I have no doubt, soon find out they were not successful. In many cases I have seen people try to fool the doctor into accepting they are almost comatose and unable to manage at all by themselves. Clearly a doctor is a professional and deals with people every day, they can spot a fool a mile off. It is my experience that so long as you are honest, try to carry out any moves asked and do not attempt to make your condition sound worse than it is you will be treated fairly. Of course, as with any system, there are exceptions and it is very hard when a mistake is made and a person that is entitled to the benefit gets turned down and has to fight on. However there is an easy way to appeal against the decision and if it is wrong the benefit payment is backdated to the day of your claim. Some of the things I was asked to do during my examinations were… Lay flat on my back and lift each leg as high as I could. Bend forward, and back as far as I could from a standing position. Twist from the waist. Lean to the left, and right, as far as I could. Climb as many steps as I could. As you can see it is not exactly asking me to try out for the Olympics and the part about “as far as I could” was stressed over and over again. I was never asked to do anything I couldn’t or anything I said I couldn’t, and I was asked not to even try if it brought on extra pain. I may simply be lucky but I was never refused the benefit nor made to feel like a fraud or charity case. After the first 3 years, and a medical examination in each of those years, I was awarded the benefit for life, or age 75, whichever comes sooner. Other benefits that come with Disability Living Allowance include a right to apply for an orange badge to allow you to park in restricted areas, and you can also claim free car tax. If the rest of your income is low you could also be entitled to free prescriptions, dental treatment, eye tests and glasses. As I say above this is not automatic but having this benefit can help. I would advise that anyone looking to claim this benefit should be certain to explain to the doctor just what it is like on the worst days, and not generalise. Indeed many doctors now ask you to tell them how you are affected at the times when things are worst. I should also add that it is unlikely you will be awarded the highest care component unless you also need help during the night. I was only awarded this level following a very bad period in my life, caused by deep depression from the constant, chronic, pain where it was no longer felt safe for me to get my own medication or be up alone during the night, and that remains so even now. My wife has had to take care of certain things for me d uring the night since then and only then was the higher rate awarded. Being awarded the lower or medium rate is not a statement that you are more able than you claim but simply that you are able to manage some things for yourself. I would recommend anyone that is disabled, or restricted badly, following an illness or accident, or because of a disability from birth, to make a claim for this benefit. The worst thing that can happen is you get turned down, but by not claiming you might be missing out on some additional money that you are “entitled” to, and enough to make a difference. No amount of money can reduce your suffering but it can help make it easier to live with. To make a claim you need to obtain a claim form, which are available at most Post Offices and Benefit Agencies. The form is big running to around 30 pages, but much of it is simply box ticking. If you cannot get out to collect one yourself you can telephone your local Benefit Agency and they will arrange to send you one. The claim is dealt with by an office in Blackpool and they are also available by telephone, details will be with the form. There is also a very comprehensive explanation document that comes with the claim form, and it really does help to make filling the claim out easier. Following your claim it can take several weeks to get a reply, I seem to recall about a six-eight week wait with my first claims, but again your benefit, should it be awarded, will be back dated to the day your claim was received at the office. Booklets or forms that may help you, and available at most post offices are, GL23 Benefit rates. (Has a list of benefits available and how much they pay.) SD1 A guide for sick or disabled GL16 Help with your rent GL17 Help with your council tax. There is also a web site: - http://www.dss.gov.uk
I have got contact dermatitis,which is a form of eczma.It starts of as blisters on the hands and turns to dry and cracked skin. My doctor says it is something that I will have for life,although it comes and goes at regular intervals. I went to the hospital last week and was told by one of the nurses that this is classed as a disability.After all I have been on the sick for over 4 months and the chances of me getting a different job are nil.Would you employ someone with scabby hands? However because my symptoms at the moment are almost dissapeared, I am finding it very hard to get it in my head that I could be entitled to disability allowance. If I where to visit a doctor now I get the feeling they would turn me down straight away,them not being able to see my hands at there worst. Not only that but the disability forms themselves do not seem to cater for my needs.Take for instance when they ask: walking outdoors getting out of bed in the morning dizzy spells...........None of this applies to me, so I am not sure of where I come into the category of disability,so at the moment my head is spinning thinking where am I going to get money from to pay the bills if I can not work and I am unable to claim anything. After all people with much more serious illnesses than mine have a lot of trouble claiming so what chance have I got?
My friend had a heart and lung transplant to save her life following a short but terminal type illness. She will always have to take some very seriously damaging medication and may have a lifespan of five years if she is lucky before the rejection wins. She can walk about ten metres before getting out of breath , she cannot continue work, she cannot carry a bag of shopping from the supermarket and some days she has to spend 22 hours in bed to have a good day the next day. Given this scenario, would you judge her as disabled? The DSS offered her care through a home help and disability living allowance when she was first diagnosed before the operation... this meant she could get a car to go to the shops for food with her wheelchair. When she had the operation, they told her she was cured and would not receive any benefits....they took away her car (which was on mobility) and as she lives in a village 10 miles from the nearest shops she would then not be able to get food... Four appeals were lodged with the same negative results despite Doctors explaining the terminality of her condition... The final appeal panel had a different doctor and he appeared to understand her problem. He explained to the other panel members that she would always be terminally disabled, and (thanks to good sense) she was reinstated with benefits that would help to pay for the odd home help or carer... All this took the best part of one year during which more sickly individuals could have died... conspiracy theory suggests that is on the agenda.. What do you think?
I don't have time for scroungers but if someone is genuinely in need then I'm all for helping them, including adding extra welfare benefit to make life a little easier. Disability Living Allowance was designed for specifically that purpose. In my work I come across many people who are not scroungers, preferring to subsist on a tiny nest-egg that they may have built up over the years, rather than claim any money from the 'State'. It can be quite difficult to get across that they are entitled to this money and that it really isn't a handout. It's just a monetary benefit that will make life a little easier until circumstances change (if applicable). Even then it can be like an exercise in linguistic gymnastics to convince some people. But not everyone knows about the welfare benefits that they may be entitled to, particularly those who are more vulnerable due to a medical condition. Let's face it, the Government are not really going to go out of their way to part with money - regardless of inadequate and timid advertising. After all, they need our tax monies to spend hideous sums on building a Dome that nobody wanted or liked. What's the price of a disabled person's quality of life when compared to an extravagant fireworks display at the end of the year. Don't get me started on that! Right, down to business. -------------------------------------------- What is Disability Living Allowance (DLA)? DLA is a welfare benefit paid to individuals who are experiencing temporary or more longer-term disabilities. It is paid from Central Government funds and is not based on your National Insurance contributions. There are two components: Mobility and Care. The former has two tiers and the latter has three. Any award is based on the severity of a disability. A successful claim requires that the condition has been present for three months prior to claiming and likely to last for at least si x months. (Unless terminal). ***Who is entitled?*** Anyone under 65 (Children have added criteria to meet. More later) who has a disability, is resident in the UK and has care and/or mobility needs. There are other criterion to fulfil such as immigration status. . . ***Benefit Amount per week?*** Care: High Rate £55.30 - Paid to someone who needs frequent care throughout the day and during the night or who is terminally ill. Middle Rate £37.00 - Paid to someone who needs significant care throughout the day or night Low rate £14.65 - Paid to someone who needs help cooking a main meal/needs help for a significant part of the day. Mobility High Rate £38.65 - Someone needing more active and general supervision than the lower component. Low Rate £14.65 - Paid to someone who cannot walk outdoors without guidance or supervision. ***How are care & mobility needs defined?*** The law defines what these needs are but the interpretations are constantly changing as they are challenged in court. Far from being restricted, the criteria is enlarging all the time. Therefore 'interpretation' is the key word. But for now, here's what the law says: Care: A person needs care if s/he needs help with bodily functions, eating, washing, taking part in social activities. . . and/or needs supervision to prevent being a danger to him/herself of others; and/or needs help in preparing and cooking a main meal; and/or is terminally ill Mobility: Cannot walk outdoors or go on an unfamiliar route without guidance or supervision for most of the time. . .; or is unable to walk or has difficulty walking; or has had an amputation or physical disability since birth; or is blind and deaf and needs someone to help outdoors; or has severe learning difficulties and can behave very disruptively ---------------- ------------------------ It does not matter if there isn't anyone providing care or attention, only if the person would benefit if someone was***** ----------------------------------------- ***Misconceptions*** Some people are put off from claiming because they believe that they are not 'disabled', using their own terms of reference for a definition. The word 'disabled' for DLA is vast. For example, someone with ME may not believe that s/he is disabled, but for the purpose of DLA she may be. The condition is almost irrelevant, it is the effects of that condition on the person that counts. Likewise, someone suffering from intermittent depression may not have any obvious physical incapacity and therefore conclude it is not a benefit for him/her. This is incorrect as the effects of depression must be looked at laterally. For example: Mr A has suffered from depression for many years. While crossing the road he experiences a sudden pang of extended lethargy. He is not concentrating on the road, has no interest of the road and therefore may not see the car coming around the corner and consequently the threat to his life. Perhaps he is prone to forgetting his prescribed medication, treatment which curtails the extremes of his condition. This may make him more introspective, forgetting to wash, to eat. . .again, if he had someone around to remind him, the possibility of harm is reduced. In this instance Mr A would require both care and mobility; the level of benefit being dictated by the severity of the condition. Lateral thinking. But remember, a successful claimant does not need to have someone with him/her only to benefit if s/he did. (Yeah, it takes some thinking about). Mrs B suffers from terrible arthritis in her hands. Therefore she cannot turn taps, hold heavy objects or grip. Otherwise she is perfectly healthy. But for the purposes of DLA she would need someone with he r for most of the day: to eat (can't grip crockery), to bathe (can't turn the taps) , etc. perhaps she requires medication during the night for her arthritis. Who is going to grip the bottle, turn the lid and serve the medication? Who will help her to the loo in the night? What happens if the bedclothes fall off - Mrs B can't rescue them because of her hands. Therefore she requires assistance during the day and the night. Effectively, constant attention. Lateral thinking! Do you see how it is necessary to look beyond the obvious in order to see the broader picture? In my experience people are likely to underestimate the effects of their condition (on the whole) rather than look at it in the cold light of day. But DLA is designed for this; that's the whole purpose of the benefit. ***Claiming & processing DLA*** If you do intend to claim, telephone the Disability Benefit Line for a claim form (details below). By doing so and supposing your claim is successful, benefit will be backdated from when you telephoned. If you just pick up a form from your local agency then it will not. As some conditions fluctuate, pay attention to the instructions on the claim form where it states that the form should be completed as if you were describing one of your worst days. The application form is a nightmare! 3 booklets of A4 size that require very intimate details of your daily life. Some of the questions are ambiguous and in some areas, duplicated. Don't be tempted to minimise the information you include, chances are if you do that you will be denied benefit. Instead, keep a diary (or get someone to do it for you). In this diary list everything that is restrictive about your condition, from when you get up to when you go to bed. Once you've got your diary, use this as a template to fill out the application form. No one knows your condition and its effects better than you do. If you are going to fill out the form yourself (which, unless you have some prior specific experience to this benefit I would advise against. See below for help.) then allow a good 2 - 4 hours to complete it. If you miss anything out attach as many sheets as you need to explain your condition in-depth. Once you have done your stuff it is time to pass it on to your Doctor for his/her confirmation of your condition and medication. Once they receive your claim form at the DLA unit they will more than likely arrange for one of their Doctors to visit you at home. If so, make sure s/he knows everything about your condition and the effects thereof. Once the medical report is submitted and the details on your claim form verified, a decision will be made about benefit. The chances are very good that you will be turned down at this stage (based on experience), receiving a letter with some gobbledegook about benefit legislation and 'not qualifying'. It is important at this stage to pay close attention to the time limit for appealing that decision. If you do need to appeal, write and say so - - immediately but request that a decision not be made until you receive a copy of all the documentation held about you on file, and until you have had time to respond to that. This documentation will include a copy of the DLA's doctor's report and other information held about the claim. (There are some exceptions about certain medical information being given to you). Read this documentation carefully, checking everything that has been written about you. If you disagree with any of the medical reports say so - in detail and explaining why you disagree. Send this back and then wait. If it is still negative there are other options available and these will be detailed on the correspondence. ***Children & DLA*** DLA is the same for children with the exceptions: In order to claim the mobility component of DLA, the minimum age for ch ildren is 5. For both the components an added criteria also needs to be met: "her/his needs are substantially in excess of the normal requirements of children her/his age; or s/he has substantial care, supervision or watching over needs which younger children in normal physical or mental health may also have but which children of her/his age and in normal physical and mental health would not have" Again, look at the needs laterally! ***Other stuff*** For a claim form: 0345.123456 (The code may have be changed/ing) The DLA unit has a dedicated team of staff to help you complete the claim form over the telephone. 0800.882200 There are many, many agencies who will help with completing the claim form and helping with appealing if necessary. If you are fortunate to be offered such help, my advice would be to take it. Log on to www.adviceguide.co.uk for agencies in your area. ***Conclusion*** I've tried to give you a quick overview of DLA, to provide any more detail would be overwhelming for the uninitiated. Please bear in mind that this op is not designed to be a comprehensive guide to the benefit, for that you need individual advice peculiar to your circumstances and country. Nor have I covered all exceptions to those not able to claim. Just treat this op as a pointer and if you think you may qualify, then seek further help. I would strongly advise you to obtain assistance with the application though, as a successful claim has positive effects on other welfare benefits. You may miss out if you are not aware of them.
Hi, to let you know a little more about me...I am 42 years old, was seriously injured in an RTA almost 21 years ago (read as drunk driver parks truck on unfortunate motorcyclist) the other driver was already banned from driving, had no insurance and was a declared bankrupt, it took me almost 6 years to claim £3k..I lost my career (Lieutenant in Navy), my home and eventually my wife and kids to an able bodied man, and am now 100% wheelchair bound, I also have kidney failure...but I still live my life to the full where posible... I agree with everything that Biffa has already said, the system stinks more than 1000 skunks! I also have a neighbour from hell, she lives in the flat above me..supposedly has really bad feet but can run like Linford Christie, is classified as Severely Disabled but always wears stiletto shoes, has full care and mobilty allowance and a Motability car...yet has 2 paid jobs and still gets income support, housing benefit, council tax rebates etc etc etc...it makes me sick! I have reported her to the so called DLA fraud squad numerous times yet she still has her benefits! Their excuse? They haven't got the staff to cope! Whilst the Social Services made me struggle and endure pain and suffering for 2½ years whilst they argued about the adaptations that my bathroom required, the neighbour had a Stairlift installed by the SS! I couldn't even have a bath or sit on the loo! DLA, for people like me is a necessary benefit. But, it is being spoilt by the users, abusers, fraudsters and professional con artists who always seem to get away with it. I have a friend that had DLA and a Motability car due to serious disabilities, that is until the DLA hit squad decided that her case needed reviewing and stopped her benefits! Lose benefits, lose car! She is not alone though, this has happened to many people who desperately need that help. People like Biffa's neighbour and the woman above me continue to get away with it whilst thos e that richly deserve it get punished and all the DLA bureaucrats can say is that they don't have enough staff to cope? They have enough staff to stop the benefits of those that desperately need it! So, who are the Fraudsters? Those that continue to milk the system? Or the Civil Servants working at the DLA offices? Thanks Biffa, you gave me the courage to vent my anger xxx
At long last, I've found somewhere to vent my spleen about the benefits system, or rather lack of. I'll warn you now, this will a rather long and irate opinion, but some things make my blood boil, and this is one of them. Please bear with me! There are two examples I want to present to you: Example 1) My husband, as some of you will already know, has a broken back, courtesy of HM Forces. For this, he received a paltry payout, the prospect of a lifetime of pain and a pat on the already broken back and out you go from the army. Upon leaving the army there were two options available to him - claim benefits, never do another days works as long as you live, or go out there and get a different job and make something of yourself. He chose the latter of the two. He is now a Logistics Manager. Example 2) The bone idle neighbour from hell allegedly hurt his shoulder in a motorbike accident 2 years ago (apparently doing 10mph and slightly grazing the kirb as he fell off). Since then he hasn't done a days work and seems content to scrounge off the dole. Seemingly bored of our friendly little close, they deicded to move up North. Being a council tenant (one of only 6 in our close), the council arranged the move for them and paid for them to move. They had a cushy little set up - a nice 3 bed semi with double glazing, central heating and an alarm system. They were given grants to help buy new furniture and decorate when they got there. Two weeks later they were back - somebody had thrown a stone at their window, so deciding it was obviously a rough area, they came back. The council gave them their old house back - which was in a grott state inside and out, as they'd left it. They were given yet more grants to help redecorate, put down new carpets all through etc etc and buy yet more furntiture. Having been back 'home' for 5 months, he decided to get a job. It lasted less than two weeks, because of his sh oulder. Off he went to the doctors for sympathy and tea (and 'Oh while I'm here just sign this 'ere disability form for me please'), only to be told by the doctor that seeing as he had another arm why not get a different job?? I'm all for the benefits system helping those that genuinely need it - but giving grants to people for everything under the sun just because they're too bone idle to go out and get a job like the rest of us annoys me. Maybe I too should quit work and stay at home. Afterall, I DID have a car accident 5 years ago that damaged my back and neck, resulting in 18 months of treatment. Maybe then I could get grants to put new carpets in?? Knowing my luck I'd get nothing. Why, when there is so much abuse of the benefits system, do they not take more time to check out everyone's elligibilty for benefits? Weed out the scroungers and make them work for a living instead of making people like me and you pay for their new carpets and washing machine. Just to show how idle he is - I recently did the gardening at the front of our house. In between the two were a row of wild rosehip bushes - they were his! I spent 5 hours outside while my other good neighbours looked after my kids for me and made me cups of coffee while I painstakingly cut back and dug up the bushes. I could barely move this morning for it. Did he make me a coffee? NO! Did he ask if I wanted a hand?? NO! Did he just sit inside watching me struggle like buggery?? YES! I rest my case. Consider my spleen vented, and thank you for taking the time to read this incredibily long moan! ***UPDATE**** Would you believe it, they're on the move again! And again, the Council are paying for it! Again, nice little cushy set up with a nice two bed house with see view. Me? We face yet another winter freezing to death because we can't afford to put the central heating in that we bought last year for £120 to do ourselves.
We all know there are some who set out to claim state benefits to which they are not entitled..To effectively defraud the system if you will.And quite rightly the hard working tax-payer must be protected from the feckless and the criminal.. However we now seem to have reached the point where protecting state cash, has become more important than helping the genuine claimant. Twelve years ago I gave up my career to give my husband the full time care he needed..( He has chronic/progressive multiple sclerosis - wheel-chair dependent etc.) Even though I was still recovering from major spinal surgery myself.. Nineteen months ago whilst lifting my husband I undid the work of the surgeon in a split second. The result, I was virtually unable to walk, couldn't bend, etc.. MRI scans and other medical tests showed I required further surgery, with no guarantee I would regain full mobility.What they could guarantee was a 13 month wait for the surgery..Still with me? I was advised to apply for Disability Living Allowance as I would need long term help.., And so in Oct 1999 I duely sent off the forms, along with the doctors opinion.. By January 2000 I had heard nothing..By February I was informed my claim had been refused..I asked for a review and sent further evidence.. The benefits agency asked me to have another medical examination this time by a doctor of their choice.. I agreed. Their doctor confirmed my condition stating I was unable to walk even a short distance without severe discomfort.. The Benefits agency again turned down my claim and asked if I wished to go to Appeal.? I did..This was in March 2000. By July I had heard nothing..So I began telephoning the Wembley office daily..They hedged for some weeks, before admitting my file had gone missing...It seemed a Decision maker had taken my personal file home, and could not rememeber where she had left it!... I have since learned this is not an uncommon occurence..b ut I was not prepared to go away quietly..I made a fuss.. I rang the Ministry of Social Security..I badgered my M.P. I wrote endless letters and sought the help of the CAB.. It worked and the missing file was found.. On Sept 19 2000 I appeared before an Appeal Tribunal..They found in my favour.. Two weeks later I telephoned the Benefit Agency to be told they had not been informed by the Appeal Service of the adjudication.. A telephone call to the Appeal Service confirmed the record I had been sent by them, that they had in fact informed the Benefits Agency in Wembley by Fax and by a written follow-up on the 20th Sept 2000. More irate calls to Benefit Agency, and hallelujah! Theyconfirmed they had received the adjudication..And promised I would receive my benefit within 6 weeks!...Over a year since I first applied for the help I so desperately need. By highlighting my experiences I have been inundated with letters from people who have, or are, suffering similarly at the hands of the Benefits Agencies.Which is why I am writing this opinion.. If any of Dooyoo's members are having problems with any of the benefits agencies.. Write them down.. Go the your local Citizen's Advice Bureau..Get at your M.P.. seek the support of your G.P..And keep on at the particular agency dealing with your claim.. I am now placing my complaints in the hands of the Parliamentry Ombudsman..It won't help me, but I hope it might help others..