Monday, 16 January 2012

Getting DLA #spartacusstories #spartacusreport

In 2003, I took really poorly with what turned out to be MS.My condition progressed from there. It took two years for me to get a diagnosis.

After a while, when I was really becoming restricted badly, I decided to apply for Disability Living Allowance. I could only walk very short distances - less than 40 metres or so - and my fatigue and balance issues restricted me badly in what I could do. I was using a wheelchair for longer distances.

I filled in the hugely long and complicated form myself: a mistake, as I later discovered. There are certain ways of wording things that are "understood" by the decision makers at the DWP.

It's depressing filling in a form like that. When you're trying to stay positive and focused on living your life, suddenly having to list all the things you can't do, write about your problems with washing, dressing, going to the toilet, doesn't really help.

A doctor came to my house to give me a medical. He asked me lots of questions, and confused me. When I finally saw his report, some time later, I didn't recognise it as relating to what I'd said. Apparently I could walk for about quarter of a mile without needing to stop, and had few problems with self care.

The DWP sent me their decision. They'd awarded me low rate care, and nothing for mobility. I didn't think that was right, so I appealed against the decision. At the appeal hearing, I was called a liar to my face and had the low rate care removed as well. Now I was getting no DLA at all.

I decided to take it further. I appealed the tribunal's decision to the Commissioner for Social Security. He decided I hadn't had a fair hearing, and that I should have another one.

At the new hearing, I was awarded high rate mobility and middle rate care. The award is indefinite, because my MS is progressive. Sadly, it's not going to get better!

The media is full of stories about scroungers who get DLA. I genuinely don't know how these people do it. Considering all I went through to get DLA, with a genuine condition...

Anyway. Please. Support Responsible Reform, the #spartacusreport. Yes, some reform is needed in the benefits system, but not the manic rolling-eyed machete-wielding currently on display from the Coalition.


  1. This I am sure is the experience of many. My daughter had heard so many stories about claiming it from friends so put off claiming it when she was clearly entitled to it for her child. The form filling took three months while we monitored what her son couldn't do. It was heart breaking and the diagnosis of Autism she had been given the year before became fact starring her in the face. She consulted many organisations and groups before she finally forwarded the application and I believe she only received the benefit because she was advised only to mention what he could not do. I do not believe in any shape or form this is a benefit you could scrounge. It is far too difficult to be awarded. My daughter was phoned as well as asked to explain almost everything she put on the form without warning.

    The benefit is so necessary for living without my daughter says they barely exist. With it she can take him out knowing if she has a problem (she cannot afford a car) she has enough in her purse to get a taxi to get him home quickly and safely. It allows him to go to clubs, have buddies to help him join in and do what other children his age take for granted.
    It allows for the heating to be on twice a day instead of once. It enables
    basic human requirements. By all means close any gaps that may let fraudulent claims in but those who are receiving it deserve it!

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  3. My child was diagnosed with autism at 3, We never knew we were entitled to care allowances until age 16 then the CAB on another matter I took to them pointed it out, so I lost years of entitlement. They interviewed him at 16 or tried to he couldn't communicate properly and they said no to him and tried to block us claiming on is behalf, we fought through and did get DLA but it is is bottom rate DLA and nowhere near recognising the huge issues he has, even the fact he was incapable of filling IN a DLA for was ignored, I am advised never to fill in a DLA or ANY Claim form yourself and, to take a solicitor with you to any assessment. However who pays for that ?

  4. MM, you shouldn't need a solicitor - get help from the CAB or a disability advice centre such as DIAL if there's one near you to fill in the form. Some local authorities have benefits advisers who can help. If you have to appeal against a decision, the adviser can help you with that too.

    And yes, nobody ever tells you about these allowances. I found out about DLA on a disability website - otherwise I would never have known it existed.

  5. Now they will take DLA away again. The CAB have flaws sadly, deaf people could not get access to the CAB without extreme difficulty. My area just opened a new Information Centre, that too had no access to those with hearing loss. Some disabled areas just do not have access to the access !