Thursday, May 29, 2008

Crudnuggets

Turned down for DLA again.

40-odd pages of my answers to their questions, plus "supporting evidence" in the form of a specialist's report, two pages of prescriptions, five statements from different people who know me in various capacities, contact details for the people I get practical help from, a statement from my last Incapacity review from one of the DWP's own 'healthcare professionals' agreeing that (to put it in layman's terms) I'm pretty disabled and not likely to improve in the forseeable future... on top of which, my GP is supporting my claim. How much more could they possibly want or need?

Co-worker#1 is convinced that it's an administrative error of some kind - that they've lost some of the paperwork, or that there was a big stack of applications in a tray marked 'for rejection' and mine went in there by mistake.

Suggestions from other people have included that the Decision Maker looked at my massive bundle'o'papers and said something along the lines of Stuff This For A Game Of Soldiers, I Want To Be Home By 5pm; or that the daunting-ness of an Appeal is being used to discourage claimants.

I have no idea, and neither does Steve. We are going to Appeal. If nothing else, the outline of reasons given is a complete contradiction of the evidence which I and everybody else signed off as being true. For example, the letter states I am "not at risk of falling". Almost every piece of evidence that was submitted explains in plain language that faints, falls and stumbles are a several-times-a-day feature of my condition and that I regularly injure myself in the process.

Then again, the comments relating to my condition weren't the only items of fiction in that letter. The very last sentence was a beautiful example. In serious, bold font, it told me "The enclosed leaflet contains important information you should read now." Was there an enclosed leaflet? No. Were the nice helpline people surprised when I phoned and said "I have no leaflet"? No. They're sending a copy of the leaflet out to me.

*sigh*

Steve and I have spent a while on the Benefits and Work website and have downloaded a wonderful 16-page pdf about DLA Appeals, full of simple step-by-step information about what happens at each stage. The Appeals process still looks daunting, but at least now it's a known quantity of daunt.

We phoned the CAB (the CAB here is only physically open three part-days a week) who have referred us to a drop-in 'Benefits and Debt Advice Clinic' at a local health centre on Monday.

***

In other, much much much more positive news - Steve has passed his final CCNP exam with flying colours (a perfect 100% in all but one section where he only got 87% which is still significantly above the pass-mark) so hopefully the general situation will improve soon.

10 comments:

Jo said...

What are they thinking?! I wonder if they have some quota, as they are rumoured to do for driving tests*. Anyway, lots of luck for the appeal. Well done to Steve for his new acronym and congratulations on the acquisition of Georgette. My mum grows courgettes, but all I really know is that they need water. Like most plants, then.

*Ok, I'm biased, I've failed 6 :(

Anonymous said...

They were to lazy to read it or to stupid! I hate them!

The Goldfish said...

Bugger, good luck and congratulations to Steve, in that order. Probably nothing to add that I didn't say before, but am rooting for you (as I hope Georgette might be too).

Mary said...

Cheers Jo. I have no idea what their reasoning is - it's not even misunderstandings, it's complete opposites. I think that's why Co-worker#1 is so convinced it's a simple admin error rather than anything else.

Well done Goldfish, that got a big (and much-needed) giggle :)

Carie said...

Oh no! That's just daft (the DWP not Steve's exam results which are very far from daft) - if there's anything I can do to help you know where I am

Anonymous said...

In the U.S. under Reagan, a group of administrative law judges in the Social Security Administration blew the whistle on the government for doing just what your friends suspect: Denying perfectly good disability claims because they knew most of the claimants would be too sick and intimidated to appeal. Then the political appointees put pressure on the judges to deny the few appeals that did come in. Great way to save taxpayer dollars, eh?

Good luck and stick it to them.

Dame Honoria Glossop said...

Congrats to Steve.

I heard the DWP automatically reject a percentage of all claims, most of which are granted on appeal. Don't know if it's true but it seems that way at times.

A friend of mine spoke to a Welfare Benefits adviser, who helped him prepare a statement. The appeals panel weren't at all scary, and granted his appeal.

Mary said...

Tomorrow morning we go and see the Benefits and Debt Advice people. I'm slightly nervous, but on the other hand I know that I definitely and unequivocally do meet the criteria for at least low rate Care and low rate Mobility, and that I should meet the criteria for middle rate Care and high rate Mobility unless there's been tweakage I don't know about.

Hopefully with their help and my immaculate evidence-bundle it'll all be as smooth as a very smooth thing.

BenefitScroungingScum said...

Oh no! To the DLA bit. I'm in the camp that believes a certain amount of automatic rejection goes on by the DWP as it'll be too much hassle/too difficult for people to appeal and so keeping numbers down that way.
Having said that, it's so protocol driven that if you don't say the right things in the right way your claim will be refused regardless. I don't think it's the extra pages, mine ran to over 100 last time and was granted straight away as all my DLA claims have been. (I'm just lucky I think)
But, like you the decision I received didn't make sense. My middle rate care was granted for the same reason my high rate was denied. Bizarre.
Good luck with the appeal, Louise Bolotin (who's article I wrote about a while ago) has a couple of blogs and has just appealed successfully. It might be worth asking her advice, I'm sure she won't mind.
BG x

Anwen said...

Argh! Hope the appeal goes well, the B&W site is a godsend.