My benefits application strategy

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Sunny Clouds

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My benefits application strategy

  • on: 20 Jul 2013 04:44PM
This will probably come back in my face if at some point I get reassessed and don't get benefits I believe I'm entitled to, but here goes...

How to do a written benefits application.

1. Don't just ask the questions you're asked on the form, look at the descriptors and also answer the questions they should have asked but didn't.

2. Don't scribble lots of stuff on the form, neatly write a note in the relevant box referring them to an appendix and label your additional info clearly.

3. Enclose a mixture of awe-inspiring technical jargon and plain English.  In my case, the response I was aiming for was 'Oh, ****, we can't let her loose in the workplace or the jobcentre.'

4. Get lots of witness evidence.  The more credible your sources, the better.  Ok, so we're not all mates with appeal court judges or whatever, but really scrape the barrel.  Who do you know with a title, a profession, letters after their name, a key position in the community?  Maybe someone you keep bumping into in church, at an evening class, in the corner shop, at your support group, in the clinic waiting room, over the garden fence etc.  The nice elderly man with some sort of title like professor or doctor or reverend or captain or something after his name like JP.  Or who can write in their work capacity, e.g. the shop manager who's seen you faint in his store umpteen times.

5.  Relating to how you'd cope at work, have you got a former manager or colleague or client who'd give a statement on what happens in the workplace when you decompensate?

6.  GP not helpful?  Who else has treated you?  Is there a hospital file you can get a copy of?  Was there a treatment plan at some point? 

7.  Consider fishing letters to medical sources, e.g. letter to consultant asking for clarification - when he discharged you, was this because there was nothing more he could do to improve your position?  Would it be worth a referral to a collegue in a different specialty?

8.  Are you on any impressive medication?  Don't just name it, describe it.  Your GP isn't giving you a letter?  Why not say e.g. that the medication is prescribed in accordance with NICE guidelines which state that it should only be used when...

9.  Have you got any paperwork used for anything else?   Did your former employer dismiss you for lack of capability because of your impairments?  Does your enhanced CRB disclosure show repeated arrests under s136 of the mental health act?  Have you got a letter from the DVLA showing that you are medically unfit to drive for such and such a reason?

11. If you're drafting letters for others, consider varying the font and margins, and be scrupulously careful about only mentioning in the letter what you are sure they have actually observed.

11.  And of course, what everyone tells you about numbering the pages including the pages in the application and all your additional notes and evidence.  I think for my ESA application it went p1 of 64, p2 of 64.  Yes, it's a chore, but it helps the people considering your claim to know if pages have gone missing.

12.  Don't despair!  If one person/organisation won't give you evidence, see what you can get elsewhere. 



(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Mabelcat

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Re: My benefits application strategy

  • on: 20 Jul 2013 06:43PM
Looks good Sunny!

Fiz

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Re: My benefits application strategy

  • on: 20 Jul 2013 07:44PM
So true 'n all

ATurtle

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Re: My benefits application strategy

  • on: 20 Jul 2013 07:47PM
With regard to number 11, it sounds like a good idea on paper, but if extra stuff comes in page 64 of 64 might well end up (as it did in my DLA appeal case) 65 of 121 and 122 becomes 122 of 139.

I would urge an index made up and use of post it notes or selotaped number tabs. This can be indispensable in the tribunal when they suddenly say "on your ESA50" you can find the ESA50 a lot quicker than just flicking through.
Tony.

"I choose not to place "DIS", in my ability." - Robert M. Hensel

Sunny Clouds

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Re: My benefits application strategy

  • on: 20 Jul 2013 08:03PM
You can still number the supplement.  "Appendix A, p1 of 30."
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)

Sunshine Meadows

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Re: My benefits application strategy

  • on: 26 Jul 2013 02:26PM
All good advice, but it is worth me posting that it does depend on the disability/illness you have and what work/of sick history there is because on my most recent ESA 50 I filled it in in my own handwriting - pencil first then pen, and I did not add any additional sheets or evidence. Also when I told my GP the out come of Support Group she checked and she had not been asked to send any additional information which was a surprise to us both.

I did realise the other day that I do have copies of a lot of the sick notes I was given when working and they themselves would be good evidence to prove I cant work for the forseeable future.

gorbut

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Re: My benefits application strategy

  • on: 26 Jul 2013 03:55PM
One important thing we have found useful is to photocopy everything before sending, much easier if you have a printer with this facility.

Sunny Clouds

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Re: My benefits application strategy

  • on: 31 Jul 2013 01:21AM
Gosh yes, keeping copies - essential!

Mind you, I did what they tell you not to - I sent two copies, one to Atos and one to DWP on the basis that that reduced the chances of them losing it but I'm not recommending that because you're not supposed to do it.

Sunshine - I take on board what you say, it does vary according to the individual.
(I'm an obsessive problem-solver, so feel free to ignore any suggestions or solutions I offer, even if they sound terribly insistent.)