Thursday, June 07, 2007

... and they're off!

Ladies and gentlemen, the screwups have commenced!

The DLA unit have sent me a set of irrelevant forms - the ones for if you are reporting a change in your condition that may affect your DLA entitlement.

They maintain that these forms would not have been sent if they hadn't been very specifically asked for. They did not have an answer to "why would we have asked for the "my condition has changed" forms, when the whole point of calling you was to outline that my condition has not changed at all?" other than to insist the incompetence (or as I tactfully phrased it "a misunderstanding, a bit of crossed wires") cannot possibly have been at their end.

If there is some poor sod out there who, on Monday, requested forms DLA454 to report a change in circumstances, and has instead received something along the lines of "so you'd like us to reconsider our decision..." then I'm really sorry. I don't have it in me to concurrently run an dispute about their decision regarding my DLA award, AND a complaint.

They told me on the phone that I have four weeks in which to put together as much additional information as possible for the reconsideration. However, the Evidence they are sending (all the evidence used to make their decision and the reasons for this decision) will not be with me for another 10-14 days. So if the third of these four weeks is a Bad Week for me, I'm screwed. There is no possibility of an extension.

I've been let down by DIAL as well. Possibly they're very busy, possibly they remember me as being all capable and independent from the work days, maybe they just don't like me - but the manager phoned me back and pretty much brushed me off with "you can deal with that yourself, because it's not a full-on appeal, just a reconsideration". Oh. Sorry to have bothered them. Obviously I phoned them for the fun of it, rather than because I'm at a stage of "please, please, somebody help me, I really cannot deal with this on my own, I have no resources, I don't know what's happening, and I don't know what to do..."

With this in mind I have sent money to the folk at Benefits and Work (with thanks to an anonymous commenter on an earlier post for flagging them) so that I can look at some of their handy online resources including titles like "Appealing against a Disability Living Allowance decision".

I wish there was some way that I could just, I don't know, sell a kidney or something and have someone take over all this Aaargh-ness.

On the happier side:

I've completed the inner panel of the knitting needle case and have started on the pockets.

One of the pockets requires beads, and I've just won the perfect ones from eBay.

I also won a new top from eBay (little bit of shopping therapy a couple of days ago). The top, plus my beads, plus the postage for each, totals about £5. Bargain.

Being back home has meant popping in to see Pip and the Littlun for a cuppa. Littlun gave me kisses and cuddles. Spontaneous ones as well, not the "go give (visitor) cuddles!" kind (which always make me feel uncomfortable - kids don't HAVE to cuddle me, you know?). I also got offered a slice of apple, which was yummy, and about a third of a chocolate biscuit, but it was a bit... slimy, so I turned it down in the politest manner possible. Still, he's learning about sharing.

8 comments:

erasmus said...

oh bunny, maybe it will be worth visiting cab before coming round to mine this evening. Plus as a professional can't I give some sort of justification to your illness proving I have known you for the length of your illness, I'll be happy to write a professional letter if needed. I'm no doctor but you may need another doctors written opinion which would help sway the case. Plus writing down your arghs here is also evedence you can give them. If there is anything at all I can help with let me know. I'm afraid I don't have many contacts but if I can find help I will. Also speak to my mate Ian he's been through symilar he may have some back information which may save you time in writing to them. good luck honey.

Mary said...

yay, I'm a bunny!

I just got my login for the members-only areas of the www.benefitsandwork.co.uk site, so today I will be mostly picking stuff from that. The most helpful paragraph I've found so far is:
"Please note whilst this letter accurately reflects my views, the original text was not written by me and its creation should not be taken to be a reflection of my abilities in relation to everyday activities."

Which is good, because, while I'm understanding the site, the template letters are all so much gobbledegook.

Thanks for the offer... unfortunately you're the wrong sort of professional. The evidence/testimonials they will accept are basically from people involved with my care and/or treatment. So that's mum, Steve, Pip (who help with my daily care needs) and then it's people like my named social worker, physiotherapist, community psychiatric nurse, occupational therapist, hospital consultant... all those people who I don't see any more because my GP was so supportive.

Serena said...

OK. First of all, you don't need to give them any additional information when asking them to review your case. This should already be happening anyway, after your mum's request. Given the screw ups so far though, it might be worth writing a brief letter, confirming the telephone conversations so far asking them to review their decision and also to send you the full details of their decision. Don't forget that the clock is then stopped until they have looked at the decision again - and this is likely to take at least as long as it will take them to send out details of the original decision.

If, when they have reviewed the decision, they don't change their mind, you will then be looking at a full dress appeal, so it would be worth phoning DIAL again then. If they still say they can't help, try the CAB. The level of help they give can vary enormously from area to area; if possible, I suggest you contact them in your nearest large town - they're more likely to know what they're doing than a small, local branch.

Failing all else, if you end up having to do it yourself, email me (I assume you can see my email address) and I'll willingly talk you through what I did and send you a copy of my appeal form to give you some clues.

Sorry if this isn't too coherent but I'm pretty brainfogged at the moment.

Mary said...

Thanks Serena, I can't make sense of words right now but will try later. Can't seem to see your email address (it comes through as noreply@blogger) but if you send your email addy in a comment then I can just reject it instead of publishing it?

Anonymous said...

hi, sorry you having all this stress.
these folks look like they may be very helpful to you.
go to
www.mechat.co.uk/info/benefits.htm

scroll down to SOURCES OF HELP section. there is info on the TRIBUNAL REPRESENTATION AND APPEAL CENTRE. TEL.02392 293060.
EMAIL allsnts@fish.co.uk

good luck! will be rooting for you.

i've not posted comment on a blog before so hope this works - brain is bit m.e. frazzled!

i was looking for an email to contact you on but couldn't find one.

seahorse said...

My appeal was successful (I too was turned down flat originally) and I got a partial award, when I submitted additional consultant's letters and support worker statements.
The mobility component has been appealed on, and I'm waiting. But my conclusion is that if you start out knowing they are going to be inept, bumbling and contradictory, then at least you are prepared. But yes, a CAB worker can help you pull together some supporting documents. How about a letter from your regular GP? Or any consultants you see?

Mary said...

Hi anon, don't worry about not being able to find my email address - it's not actually here. I figure, I get quite enough spam as it is ;)

Hi Seahorse. Unfortunately my regular doctor is off on maternity leave (since late February, and not expected back until autumn/winter) and therefore can't be contacted for work purposes. Much as I like her and she is friendly to me, it's still purely within a doctor/patient framework and that is the only context in which I see her or can contact her.

I haven't been to the CAB yet - I'm starting to feel that I might manage without, to be honest. For the "reconsideration" part, that is.

Anonymous said...

have you tried Action for ME? They have a booklet 'DLA: Revisions & Appeals' for £1 (free if you're a member.

01179279551 or 08451232380.

Good luck!