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Author Topic: DLA CON TRICK?  (Read 8138 times)

Offline Christina

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DLA CON TRICK?
« on: Nov 27 2009, 11:38 AM »
 Hi everyone

As a member of Benefits & Work I get regular updates on Benefits and I wanted to share this with members who get DLA and particularly those who may be up for renewal of their benefit in the near future.



Is new DLA form a con trick?

26 November 2009

Page 2 of DLA claim packA new short DLA renewal form appears to be being used to con claimants into not giving evidence about their condition and then refusing them an award, as a Benefits and Work member recently discovered to their cost.  Astonishingly, a letter accompanying the form also advises people to fraudulently allow their current DLA claim to continue, even if they know that they are no longer entitled to any money.

The DWP have recently started sending out a new DLA form for people coming up for renewal.  The form is just four pages long and is sent out three months before an award is due to end, rather than the six months that was previously the case.  It is not clear whether the new form is being sent out to all renewal claimants or just to pilot groups at present.

Only two pages of the four page form actually deal with your health condition and how it affects you.  In many cases even these do not need to be completed, because if there has been no change in your condition or circumstances you are invited to tick a single box saying ‘No’ and then simply sign and return the form.  And that’s it.

If there has been a change in your circumstances, you are asked to say explain what it is.  The four page accompanying notes indicate that this may be things like:

    * Page 3 DLA claim packChanges in your medication, treatment or therapy and whether they have helped
    * Being on a waiting list for an operation
    * Being told you can’t have surgery
    * You have had surgery
    * You have had any tests
    * You now use prescribed aids or adaptations
    * You now see anyone else for your illness or disability
    * Leaving the country
    * Going into or out of hospital, prison, a care home, foster or local authority care, a special school or college.
    * Getting constant attendance allowance or war pension mobility supplement.
    *  

If there have been any such changes, you then have to answer two more questions:

‘Do you need more or less help than before to get around out of doors because of the changes you have told us about?

‘Do you need more or less help than before with your personal care because of the changes you have told us about?

There are two small boxes to give more information about the help you now need These two tiny boxes replace 27pages of the standard DLA claim pack.

Accompanying the form is a letter which states that:

“If you do not want to claim again or you no longer need help you do not need to fill in the form or send it back to us.

Your payment will stop when your award ends.”





Given that the form is sent out three months before the DLA award is due to end, this is extraordinary advice.

If a claimant no longer needs help they are under a legal obligation to inform the DWP of the change in their condition and deliberately failing to do so would ordinarily be a criminal offence.  What the legal situation would be where a claimant is apparently advised by the DWP to commit fraud we are unable to say, but we would urge members always to inform the DWP of any change in their condition.


In the meantime, our advice to members who receive a short renewal form is to very seriously consider downloading a copy of the full DLA claim form from the internet and completing any pages which are relevant to explaining your care, supervision and mobility needs.  Enclose these pages as additional sheets to accompany the short form, writing your name and national insurance number at the top of each sheet.

At least that way you will have given yourself an opportunity to give detailed evidence from the very outset about how your condition affects you.



Sorry for the length of this post, but I want to make sure everyone gets all the information.

Chris x
not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain ...

barbara

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Re: DLA CON TRICK?
« Reply #1 on: Nov 27 2009, 12:00 PM »
Hi Chris,
Thanks for that. It goes from one extreme to the other. Too many pages to too few.
My DLA is a so called Life Award  but as I will be 65 in 2 years time I am fully expecting something happening before then especially in the light of the Green Paper.

We have been warned. Thanks.

Barbara

Offline Elaine

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Re: DLA CON TRICK?
« Reply #2 on: Nov 27 2009, 07:46 PM »
Eek ! I've always thought the forms were so badly structured that it's easy to make a mess of it and not include enough information but now god only knows what will happen .
Mine is for indefinite period now too Barbara .What does happen after you reach 65(though I have a few more years to go thankfully )?
Elaine xx

barbara

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Re: DLA CON TRICK?
« Reply #3 on: Nov 27 2009, 07:59 PM »
Hi Elaine,
I am not aware that anything definite happens at 65 except that if you are on DLA at 65 you stay on it rather than claiming AA.  As AA doesn't have a mobility component I am sure they would rather I was not on DLA as I could push for the higher mobility rate  in future years.
It might all be in the wash if this  Green Paper leads into this new Care Plan and DLA is removed from over 65's.

Fingers crossed

Barbara

Offline Elaine

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Re: DLA CON TRICK?
« Reply #4 on: Nov 28 2009, 10:25 AM »
Thanks Barbara .Fingers crossed eh ?
Elaine xx

Offline Christina

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Re: DLA CON TRICK?
« Reply #5 on: Feb 04 2010, 09:45 AM »
Here is the latest update I have about the DLA renewal short form from Benefits & Work.  Thought it might be helpful to some of our members:


3 February 2010

Fears that the new DLA short form is simply a way of preventing claimants giving evidence appear to be justified.


We now know that the 4 page DLA and AA renewal form was being piloted in North East England, Greater Manchester and East Lancashire.  The trial ran from September 2009 with a decision due to be made last month as to whether or not to continue the trial or roll out the claim form nationally.


Meanwhile, we continue to hear from claimants who have had experience of this form – and most of them are not good experiences.

A claimant with fibromyalgia indicated on their form that nothing had changed other than their medication.  The DWP then rang their home and asked to speak to her.  Her husband informed them that his wife was currently asleep and no  longer used the phone because of ‘brain fog’ and problems with holding things without going into painful spasms.  However, the DWP staff member insisted that the claimant must telephone before a certain time and that an email would not be acceptable.

When she phoned the DWP back she was subject to hostile questioning for ten minutes.  This included being asked how she could care for her autistic children if she was so ill and why she wasn’t claiming incapacity benefit if she had such severe mobility problems?  The DWP staff member also stated that they were ‘very surprised’ that there had been no change in her condition and that  they thought there would have ‘been an improvement by now’.

She is awaiting a decision on her renewal, but without much optimism.

Claimants who completed the short form indicating that there had been no change in their condition and were subsequently contacted by the DWP to check who their GP was in order that the DWP could get additional evidence from them, rather than the claimant.  In one case, where the claimant had recently changed their doctor they were told that they hadn’t been with their new GP long enough, so an Atos doctor would be sent out to do a medical.

The picture that is emerging is that, in general, the DWP are not prepared to accept a simple statement that there has been no change in a claimant’s condition.  Instead, if this is all the information that is given, they will either telephone the claimant or seek evidence elsewhere.

There are obvious disadvantages to this for the claimant. If you are phoned, it is the DWP who decide what questions to ask, how they are asked and what record is kept of your answers.

If the DWP contact your GP then there are dangers that your GP may not be supportive or may not be well informed about the difficulties you face.

Advice continues to be that you should very seriously consider downloading a copy of the full DLA claim form from the internet and completing any pages which are relevant to explaining your care, supervision and mobility needs.  Enclose these pages as additional sheets to accompany the short form, writing your name and national insurance number at the top of each sheet.

In addition, consider making an appointment with your GP and taking along a completed copy of the Health Professional’s sheet you will find at the back of each of the DLA guides.

Whatever you do, avoid letting the DWP being the ones to decide what evidence to collect, how to collect it and who to collect it from.



Chris x
not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain ...

Offline shell01

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Re: DLA
« Reply #6 on: Dec 26 2010, 08:18 PM »
hi,  I have been diagnosed with MD for 2 year now.  Am I able to claim DLA and if so, how difficult are the forms to complete.
This is the first time on this site so any help would be appreciated, Cheers

Offline Christina

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Re: DLA CON TRICK?
« Reply #7 on: Dec 26 2010, 09:11 PM »
Hi and welcome

Yes, you can apply for DLA.  I'm sure you've heard that it's going to very likely be abolished in the near future by our new government, in favour of another benefit, but you can still apply for DLA at the moment.  It is not that easy to be awarded it, but please have a read through all the information on applying for DLA that you can find on the forum.  Let us know if there's anything you need particular help with.  You will need to repeat information a lot on the forum and to fill it with as much as you can to help your case.  It can be useful to keep a diary of your symptoms and how they affect your daily life and include that with the application.  Having your GP or consultant on your side is very important because they will be asked to provide a report on your condition most likely.  If you Sending copies of any medical evidence you have to support your application will go a long way to help.  Keep a copy of the application form for future reference too. I find it's easiest to tackle the form in small bites and take several days to complete it.

Good luck with your application

Chris x

not waiting for the storm to pass, but learning to dance in the rain ...