Lightening can strike twice
In Early August after an 18mth fight that lovely lady Sue Marsh who despite a transplant and poor health fights for disabled rights, she is widely published in the press, as well as her blog “diary of a benefit scrounger” http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/ the fact that after a long fight appeals and rejection out of the blue a lady sorry a “nice lady” from the DWP called to tell Sue they had reviewed her case and had decided to awarded her the DLA she had fought so hard for. This was to change her life we all know how much the relatively small amount of weekly DLA can transform our lives and how it allows us to LIVE rather than to EXIST.
In my case I first claimed DLA when I was registered blind, and at that time I had a small amount of residual sight and was able to do a small number of things for my self, plus I was determined to fight, once I had overcome the shock and its accompanied depression, fight to have a life, a fight that we, the disabled know, wasn’t and never is an easy fight.
I have no sensitivity in my fingers, so Braille is for me a none starter, which rules out so many useful aids around the house.
Last Christmas my daughters noticed I wasn’t coping as well as I had, simple tasks were complicated, more difficult and harder to complete, they started nagging me to claim for more DLA. I receive thanks to the efforts of RNIB / Action 4 the blind higher rate mobility but only the basic care component of DLA.
I as usual procrastinated, delayed and found loads of reasons not to make that call, to make that initial contact to get more help.
Eventually I could wait no longer, and made the call, however, by the time I received the audio version of the claim I had already passed the time limit between calling and filing the claim, so I started all over again, and eventually in mid/late July submitted a detailed form asking for my case to be reviewed and in the hope I would receive the middle tier of DLA (Care).
Literally by return of post I received a rejection, there would be no upgrade, I was to say the least stunned, shocked, by the speed of the decision given it normally takes several weeks, with them asking for and receiving additional information from Drs Hospitals and the like.
I procrastinated until I was almost out of the 28 day window in which to appeal when I made the call, the operator tried to convince me, despite by her own admission being unable to actually view my claim on line, that it was correct and did I really want to appeal?
I asked for the jacket as they call it to be reviewed by another person, this also allows me, if I still don’t like their answer to go a full appeals board.
There was added complication as I wanted to submit the appeal electronically, a task with the aid of assisted technology I can do, this proved a step to far for DWP, I stuck to my guns, used the ultimate phrase” are you making a reasonable adjustment for my disability” after all I was consenting to email of personal data so it was authorized so no Data Protection issues arose, a fact that seemed incomprehensible to the operator.
Eventually I was called and given an email address that I could submit my evidence in support of my claim and the review I was requesting, a task that had to be completed within 28 days.
This all took place on a Friday. The Following Tuesday a little after 9am as I was preparing to leave home top attend another meeting in support of the disabled they called, that nice lady I assume the one who called Sue Marsh, informing me SHE had reviewed my jacket and had decided to award me the next level of DLA (Care) she sought clarification as to when my condition had deteriorated as the three month rule applied, a rule I thought only applied to new claims, however, once convinced it had started last Xmas it as agreed I had a claim and that it could be paid from June when I submitted my original claim.
Today a week later despite not yet receiving the promised letter confirming the award the back pay hit the bank!.
So you might “ask why the blog about this?”, well to me it seems crystal clear that the default position of the DWP is to refuse, to deny claims and see what evolves.
If the claimant files or challenges its awarded, if they don’t then IDS has saved or reduced the welfare budget.
If you are unsure to claim or to appeal please read the delicious Sue Marsh blog “What DLA means to me” http://diaryofabenefitscrounger.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/what-dla-has-meant-to-me.html. it says far more elegantly than I ever could what the impact of DLA is and why its so vital
Its crystal clear to me that one has to fight, to articulate ones claim and not be intimidated by the staff, the DWP or the process ( some staff are superb but it’s the luck of the draw IMO)
If you don’t have the tools, or the confidence to do it your self, then please seek help, from a friend, family member, CAB or a local or national support group, a group that is aware of the difficulties surrounding your disability.