Author Topic: DLA Tips 3 - sent by Jackie  (Read 11212 times)

Offline Alec

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DLA Tips 3 - sent by Jackie
« on: Jun 24 2003, 12:02 AM »
Keep copies of all forms and answers, because sometimes if a medical examination is required it is not done until three or four MONTHS after you have filled in the form and sent it off.  You need the copies for reference so that you can remember what you wrote!
This is fairly straightforward and you have the option of sending in this part first and Section 2 later.  I prefer to keep the two parts together as I don't trust the system to reunite them if sent separately, but if you think it will take longer than a week or two to fill in the forms then send in Section 1 first so your claim has been registered at the DWP (previously called the DSS).  Then you will not lose any benefit if it takes a long time to fill in Section 2.
After the financial and residence information required in the first part of Section 1 there is a page titled 'About your illnesses or disabilities'.  Write down all of your illnesses, not just the inner ear condition, because they all add to the overall picture of disability.  For example, migraines, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, arthritis, visual impairment, hearing loss etc can all be included as they impact on your ability to function normally.  For the purpose of this series of emails I will stick to symptoms connected to inner ear disorders only.  
The next part is 'Who would you like to tell us about your illnesses or disabilities?'  The best person for this is your GP or consultant as long as you get on with him/her.  They are looking for someone professional rather than someone who is a family friend.  If you don't get on with your GP/consultant (or you don't have a consultant) and there isn't anyone else from the medical field to ask then try to choose someone who is in a position of authority, eg a friend who is a nurse or teacher and who knows you well.  
At the part 'Your hospital doctor or specialist' you are given the option of using an extra piece of paper to write down the names of other specialists if you have more than one.  I would suggest using the end of the form or the back of it to keep all the information in one place, noting on this first page where you put the extra information.
All of this is common sense really and no doubt you will have already thought of all of it.  The next section is more tricky.
It is helpful to write out your answers in draft form first.
The part 'About you' has a list of boxes to tick regarding whether you have those disabilities or not.  Again straightforward but in the box titled 'You have a mental health problem' it is OK to put in a tick there if you do suffer from anxiety or panic attacks as they can still be included in this part.  Also most of us also have problems with hearing even using hearing aids, so that box can be ticked as well.  However, the box most commonly used will be the last, 'You have some other problem not on this list'.
*****Before going on to fill in the rest of the form there is one extremely important point to remember.  If you detail how you are affected by your illnesses but then say that they affect you only one day per week, you will NOT get DLA, as you will not qualify for enough points.  If you say that you are badly affected on one day per week but still affected on other days then you can honestly say that your disability affects you for more than one day.
Keep a daily diary if possible to see how many days you have trouble because of symptoms.  If you find that you have relapses that last for a month, for example, but then you have a month which is almost free of symptoms, then over a two month period you still have half of it affected by illnesses, giving you three to four days per week.  If your problems are more frequent than that then it is easy to take a couple of weeks, add up the days of being very poorly, then the days when you have some problems but they are not so bad (I count them as half days) and then see what you are left with.  That gives you an average of the number of days that you can say that you are disabled by your illnesses over a week compared to the number of days when you are feeling better and can do more.  However, your illness is with you seven days of the week, it doesn't go away on the other days.
NEVER UNDERESTIMATE how your disability affects you.  It is often a temptation to say how well you cope with something but that works against you on these forms and in disability tests.  Answer firstly according to how you are on your worst days and then you can tell them about fluctuations in the spaces provided.  One trap to avoid is saying that you have problems seven days per week and then not writing about the fluctuations because if you do have a medical examination, you will be expected to be as you say you are all the time.  If you do have a problem all the time and it remains constant then that's fine to put on the form, but if not then you will need to describe the fluctuations as well.  For example, for walking, if you have two or three really bad days but still have trouble on the other days too then you can put that you have trouble on seven days per week, but you have to describe the other days to account for the entire number.  All this may seem like a lot of detail but it is essential if you are to handle any medical assessment with confidence and not contradict yourself by describing to the doctor one of your better days when he might be asking you about the worst day you wrote about on the form.  
Don't discuss feelings on the form, just try to stick to specifics and give as much information as possible saying how your illness has affected your daily living and the help you need, and what happens if you don't get that help.  It is not relevant that you don't get help, it is your need for help that is important.
This part gives you the points needed for the mobility component of DLA, at low, middle or higher rate according to how much your mobility is affected in the eyes of the Adjudicators.  They are only interested in how much your ability to walk is affected, and the help you need to walk.  Those are the points to concentrate on.  Questions to ask yourself here are:
* Does dizziness stop you from walking outdoors at all?  
You may have days when the dizziness and nausea are so bad you can't leave the house.
*Are there some days when you would not be able to walk outdoors without someone else's help?
*Does the dizziness become worse when you are out, requiring you to stop or return home?
That means your ability to walk is compromised.  
*Do you have to stop and rest due to dizziness?
Maybe you need to find a seat to sit on to recover from dizziness.  That counts as needing help.
*Does dizziness/nausea increase if you continue walking?
Perhaps you may feel faint if you continue walking.
*Do you have sudden attacks of vertigo/dizziness which could endanger you while outdoors?
For some people turning movements are a particular problem at road junctions, for example, or you might lose your balance suddenly.
*Do you need someone to help you get back home again if you become unwell?
*Do you use a stick or perhaps hold onto someone else to help you balance while walking?
*Do you need to stop and take a tablet while out to counteract dizziness?  
*Do you suffer from panic attacks while outdoors?
It's OK to say that you get anxious or have panic attacks WHILE OUT but not that they prevent you from attempting to go out.
There may be other questions related to any other illness you have that has an impact on your ability to walk.  Make a note of all your answers and then you will see how to answer this part of the form.  At the bottom of the page you are asked how far you can walk before you feel severe discomfort.  Being unable to walk without dizziness and nausea counts as severe discomfort!  But if you put that you can walk more than 800 metres without difficulty you will not get any points.
Alec (forum Moderator)

Whenever I hear the term, 'let's go for a spin', it makes me cringe.