DLA - Going to appeal

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helenpage

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 20 Feb 2012 03:47AM
I copied what I had put in the last 2 applications so I thought i'd be ok. stupid me

I've spent much of the last week at home as the girls have been on half term and they've been poorly so i've been home. If i've been to the shops i've used my power chair and the furthest I have walked was across the road from my car to the chemist and back. I've been pain free as a consequence. Last night I went to church, my powerchair tyres need pumping up and the pump is stuck in the garage because we've got scaffolding up. The church is up a steep hill and I can't manage to push the manual up there so I walked up. 2am and i'm awake in tears due to the pain. It's about 50 yards. i've ended up taking extra meds and feel lousy. i guess i overestimated what i can do and it's bitten me in the bum.

on a possitive note next week i'm going to the wheelchair service and to my gp who is incredible. Went to Harrogate Hospital last week and am waiting to hear from them about seeing the rheumatologist and going to a back pain exercise class (call me pesimistic but I think I know the outcome of this will be me being bedbound for 3 days but one must show willing).

The most infuriating thing is if I loose my car these appointments would be impossible. The local hospital is a glorified clinic and failed to notice my lordosis so it's gotten worse and worse to a point where it is now crippling me. My GP referred me to Harrogate but there is no way without a car I could get there. I tried to go to the wheelchair service in the past before i could drive but it's 2 busses away and hospital transport failed to show up twice.  if car insurance was affordable i wouldn't be reliant on motability, i'd happily fund my own car if i could afford to!



Monic1511

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 20 Feb 2012 07:23PM
Hi Helen
 >hugs< >hugs<I think in your appeal you need to say that you overestimated how far you can walk and forgot to consider that when you walk you are effectively housebound for the next day due to the pain, which also stops you from sleeping.   I know what you mean about copying the old form & it just shows how much is up to individual decision makers,its just that the DWP are cracking down & being really picky (IMO).   When you do your appeal don't mention the steep hill, as dwp will say they assess you on flat level ground & won't consider hills  >yikes<
Tell the dwp that when you walked your pain levels rose to such an extent that you overdosed "taking extra meds" in an effort to releive the pain & made yourself feel worse.   Ask the rheumatologist if they would support your appeal and show them the letter, don't wait for extra evidence but put the appeal in just now, if you get good letters from the doctors then send it in at a later date.
You could say that without access to a car you would be housebound as you cannot sit on a bus nor access a bus without severe pain & discomfort which would leave you housebound for several days - you know your situation best so write what best describes your situation
 >bighugs<
Monic

Sofie

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 20 Feb 2012 10:14PM
i've ended up taking extra meds and feel lousy.

If you take extra medication to enable yourself to walk, you'd need to state what (if any) side effects this causes.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 10:41AM
Important note:

Regarding the '50-yard limit' for assessing walking ability, this is not actually a distance set legally, although the DWP have been using it as a very rough 'rule of thumb'. Case law is changing all the time - a Social Security Commissioner has recently advised tribunals that it's not just the distance to be taken into account, but also how long it takes you, the amount of times you have to stop for rest, the pain and fatigue incurred etc.  So you might qualify even with your 400 yards when these other factors are considered...

Source: http://www.benefitsandwork.co.uk/

helenpage

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 11:12AM
Started a letter - this is it thus far.

I wish to appeal the decision I received in my recent DLA award. This saw me loose my higher rate mobility and I feel the decision does not take into account the impact walking has on my ability to care on for myself and to function on a day to day basis.

In my original application I stated I could walk half a mile but in recent days I have realised this is a massive overestimation. Because of my disability I don't walk very far at all and so it's hard to estimate how far I can actually walk. This overestimation was based on good days from some time ago and my good days are now few and far between. I can only walk more than 100 yards if I prepare well in advance and have time to rest before and after. If I do walk I need to sleep more when I get home and I have to take more painkillers and I have to have a 30 minute rest before walking home again. If I do not rest before walking home I suffer from muscle spasms in my legs and am at risk of falling. Therefore to walk any distance I need to use a crutch. The extra painkillers make me more drowsy, foggy headed and cause me to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and nausea. Because of these symptoms I do not take extra painkillers when my children are around because I don't feel safe to care for them. Often the painkillers have little effect on the pain – even when taking the maximum dose. On a day to day basis walking more than 50 yards causes me to suffer from severe pain and so I try not to walk any further than that. I therefore rely heavily on my car and recently purchased a powerchair. I am also awaiting an assessment for a new manual wheelchair as my current one is too heavy for me to push myself in and my GP and myself feel that using it on a daily basis will improve my mobility and help me to loose weight improving my back problems. Recently I was diagnosed as having a curvature in my spine which is causing a chronic pain disorder which is difficult to treat because my CFS limits my ability to exercise and travel to appointments. I have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia which further effects my ability to exercise.

Without my motability car and powerchair I would be housebound. The nearest bus stop to my home is over 100 yards away and by the time I got to the stop I would already be in pain. The buses stop at 3pm so the service is not suitable for collecting my children from school. If I need to travel to Harrogate for hospital appointments I would need to use 3 busses and walk 100 yards to the bus stop near my house and 100 yards from the bus stop to the hospital. The buses do not time well and the considerable wait in a cold bus station exasperates my symptoms further. It's a similar story for getting to work and if I loose my car I will be forced to give up work.

In this award I also lost my middle rate care. My husband now works in an office closer to home so that he can be nearby in case I need support. At lunch time he often comes home or will call me to make sure I have eaten a meal because often I will sleep through meal times and forget to eat and end up having dizzy spells. He is also there if I fall at home. Often if I have overexerted myself I will suffer from muscle spasms and I can also suffer from panic attacks which cause my legs to give way and at least once a month I fall on the stairs. I am unable to cook or bathe during the day because I will forget i've turned the oven on or that i've turned the tap on. 

At present many of the symptoms I have suffered in the past have been lessened by having access to additional childcare, my husband being nearby, gaining confidence and lessening anxiety by working, grading my activity and being able to get around and about. If I were to loose these then my symptoms will worsen further and leave me at risk of further accidents. 

I have enclosed a letter from my GP, a report from the musculoskeletal clinic at Harrogate District Hospital and a report from the chronic fatigue service at Seacroft hospital which though old, explains the symptoms I was suffering prior to my initial award of DLA in 2007. I have also enclosed information from the wheelchair service at Seacroft Hospital.

helenpage

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 11:13AM
Interesting point. I've always had DLA because the effort to walk would put me in danger or have a negative impact on my health. This is a point that's not currently in the PIP criteria which makes me suspicious.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 12:08PM
That's a really good letter  >thumbsup<  Just one thing to bear in mind, though - they're not really considering things like how your ability to look after your children is affected, they are looking at your care/mobility needs while you are performing daily activities for your own self-care.  Whether you can work or not is also outside the scope of the DLA scheme, so you may wish to remove references to childcare and getting to work ..

KizzyKazaer

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 12:12PM
PS - the above is from memory.  I will double-check it later....

helenpage

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 01:51PM
Thanks Kizzy. The reason I mentioned work is that my GP has noticed a huge change in my mental health since I went back to work and she is very concerned if I give up work i'll end up in counselling and on antidepressants again. the antidepressants make the fogginess worse and to be honest, i try to avoid them at all costs. Again, I'll reword the childcare bit. The point I want to make is that if I had the children on my own full time I wouldn't be able to care for myself because I would be too exhausted and the anxiety would kick in again.

KizzyKazaer

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 02:24PM
Hi again,

I had doubts after I'd posted about the work thing (it happens!) as I remembered the leaflet we get with DLA award notices telling us what changes to report... and I located this regarding notifying the DLA unit of change in circumstances:

If the customer starts work, training or work experience training, their entitlement to Disability Living Allowance/Attendance Allowance (DLA/AA) is only affected if the amount of help they need has reduced or increased.

(guidance issued to DLA processing staff - source: Benefits and Work as per earlier link)

Now that to me would indicate that, potentially, being at work could mean you have greater care and mobility needs - they do say 'increased' as a possibility there! - so perhaps leave that in after all about if you lost the car, you would have to give up work... but add to the end of that sentence how that in turn would make your mental health symptoms even worse, as confirmed by your GP.  It may then equate to:   loss of mobility help = worsening of condition ....

As for the childcare, I see what point you're making there - I suppose the part I was a bit iffy about was you stating you tried to avoid painkillers because of looking after the children. I didn't want anything perhaps 'held against you'!! But you've explained the other negative side of taking these pills - the side-effects and the fact that they don't make the difference to the pain that you would hope for, so that should cover it :-)

Prabhakari

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 02:41PM
More sympathy from me to Helen.

Not easy to find words, but I CARE. I care deeply.

With metta, Prabhakari.
Bless 'em all, bless 'em all,
The long and the short and the tall.

Hurtyback

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 03:29PM
Well done, Helen, you have made a great start on your campaign!!
 
Please may I be 'picky'? At one point you have used the word 'exasperate'  (to make angry) when I think you mean 'exacerbate' (to make worse).
 
 >rose<
 

Monic1511

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 05:55PM
Hi Helen
Your letter is really good but I'd remove references to childcare as the DWP can assume that if you are looking after children you have no care needs of your own.   The other thing I wasn't sure of is how long is 100 yards - a yard is 3.3 feet I think and a metre is 3.5 feet so f you can walk 100 yards then according to this convertor you can walk 100 yd = 91.44 m, so thats 8 bus lengths so you wouldn't get high rate mobility even though they are meant to consider the speed & manner of your walking

I've only copied part of your letter & will try & highlight the bits that dwp will latch onto to remove the award

In my original application I stated I could walk half a mile but in recent days I have realised this is a massive overestimation. Because of my disability I don't walk very far at all and so it's hard to estimate how far I can actually walk. This overestimation was based on good days from some time ago and my good days are now few and far between.   I can only occasionally walk more than 100 yards if I prepare well in advance and have time to rest before and after. If I do walk I need to sleep more when I get home and I have to take more painkillers and I have to have a 30 minute rest before walking home again. If I do not rest before walking home I suffer from muscle spasms in my legs and am at risk of falling. Therefore to walk any distance I need to use a crutch. The extra painkillers make me more drowsy, foggy headed and cause me to suffer from irritable bowel syndrome and nausea. Because of these symptoms I do not take extra painkillers as it leaves me feeling very groggy and spaced out (I would removed this when my children are around because I don't feel safe to care for them). Often the painkillers have little effect on the pain – even when taking the maximum dose. On a day to day basis walking more than 50 yards causes me to suffer from severe pain and so I try not to walk any further than that. I therefore rely heavily on my car and recently purchased a powerchair. I am also awaiting an assessment for a new manual wheelchair as my current one is too heavy for me to push myself in and my GP and myself feel that using it on a daily basis will improve my mobility and help me to loose weight improving my back problems. Recently I was diagnosed as having a curvature in my spine which is causing a chronic pain disorder which is difficult to treat because my CFS limits my ability to exercise and travel to appointments. I have also been diagnosed with fibromyalgia which further effects my ability to exercise.

Without my motability car and powerchair I would be housebound. The nearest bus stop to my home is over 100 yards away and by the time I got to the stop I would already be in pain. (The buses stop at 3pm so the service is not suitable for collecting my children from school unfortunately not relevant to DWP & they won’t consider it) . If I need to travel to Harrogate for hospital appointments I would need to use 3 busses and walk 100 yards to the bus stop near my house and 100 yards from the bus stop to the hospital. The buses do not time well and the considerable wait in a cold bus station exasperates my symptoms further. It's a similar story for getting to work and if I lose my car I will be forced to give up work.


I would try not to be specific about the distances but add a bit about severe pain and discomfort that you suffer especially if the pain is constant
I know it seems picky but I hope thats constructive
best wishes
Monic


devine63

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 21 Feb 2012 10:25PM
Hi

I don't want to distract from the good advice, but ref the work situation - have you applied to Access to Work for help?   They might pay for taxis or other transport if you do lose your car, for example.   See
http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/Employmentsupport/WorkSchemesAndProgrammes/DG_4000347 

regards, Deb

helenpage

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Re: DLA - Going to appeal

  • on: 22 Feb 2012 10:29AM
That's fab advice and i've reworded accordingly. I want to take it to show the GP tonight (my daughter has an appointment so i thought i'd hand it to her so she can come up with something before my appointment on tuesday which is a double one). Been waiting 2 days for the physio to ring my call - this is the physio who should have rung me over a week ago so that's very irritating