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Thread: DLA reconsideration refused, do you think I have a chance going to an appeal, HELP!!

  1. #1
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    DLA reconsideration refused, do you think I have a chance going to an appeal, HELP!!

    Hello there, I am looking for some support with regard to whether to appeal my DLA decision and any advice would be GREATLY appreciated. Here’s the situation, I am 28 and was born with no left hand and my left forearm is underdeveloped. I have worked since the age of 15 and tried my best to overcome my disability over the years as best I can but I have suffered on and off with depression and anxiety although I have fought hard to remain a positive person. I did not know what DLA was until 2008, I applied and was awarded the lowest rate of care indefinitely on the basis that I could not safely prepare a cooked meal for myself.

    In 2011 I started getting back pain at work (I work in a office on the phone and typing everyday) and I had a workplace assessment carried out and was given an adapted chair and a mouse for my right hand to help reduce repetitive strain injuries. In 2012 I decided to learn how to drive and when I passed my test I was told there was no help for me with regard to getting a car/having a car adapted and as my independence was a priority I did what I’ve always done, worked hard and got a car on finance and paid a lot of money for the adaptations to be done myself.

    In 2013 I had my first child and all the extra strain on my body has changed my situation. A lot of the day to day things that I personally need help with I do not get help with until my husband returns from work. During his absence I have to simply make do i.e using my left arm to carry out tasks which cause me pain due to uncomfortable positions. My back pain has worsened and I have had physiotherapy for it and I also experience pain in my right hand due to overuse so I can no longer do activities like bowling or badminton (the last bowling trip left me having physiotherapy on my right hand). Aside from becoming a new parent which is tough on everyone, my anxiety and depression has taken a hit as simple tasks like being able to push a pram and hold an umbrella whilst carrying things are a massive challenge.

    I was urged to re-apply by a friend who sees me regularly and knows the obstacles I face and the DWP wrote to me stating that essentially I can cope so they will not consider any change in allowance. Looking back on my form I realised I really had not filled it in properly only touching on the issues I have. My friend has since helped me write a 6 page letter detailing how I go about day to day life and the difficulties I have. I had to get help as it was truly so hard having to firstly spot everything I need help with seeing that I was born with a missing limb and don’t know any different and secondly having to be self critical about things I cannot do. It was a horrible experience, never have I honestly felt so pathetic having to bare my soul to a stranger in an office somewhere in order to almost convince them of my disability.

    I received a reconsideration notice from the DWP a few days ago advising again they will not change their decision. I wrote in my letter that I need help with balancing in the shower simply as I don’t have a left hand to steady myself on a solid surface in the bathroom whilst showering and I have slipped in the past on bathing products and they advised “ I accept that taking a shower can be a dangerous activity and requires supervision however you can arrange for help at these times”. I feel that this is an unfair reply as they are implying that I can only shower when I have someone at home. Should I not be able to have the option to buy aids to shower by myself independently?

    Both my doctor and physiotherapist are nice people but I don’t think their reports helped my case. My physiotherapist focused on how my back pain is down to childcare which i understand isn’t relevant to my personal circumstances apparently and my doctor told me recently that my disability is physically obvious so it should be a simple case. My doctor filled out the forms the DWP sent to her in front of me in a matter of minutes and when we finished she actually said she thinks that my needs are understated and that if I need more help to get back to her in the future!! I left the room so confused surely she should have stated all my needs?? Not sure if I can cope with much more of this process so looking for some help.

    Thanks for listening

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by kf44802 View Post
    I wrote in my letter that I need help with balancing in the shower simply as I don’t have a left hand to steady myself on a solid surface in the bathroom whilst showering and I have slipped in the past on bathing products and they advised “ I accept that taking a shower can be a dangerous activity and requires supervision however you can arrange for help at these times”. I feel that this is an unfair reply as they are implying that I can only shower when I have someone at home. Should I not be able to have the option to buy aids to shower by myself independently?
    DLA can be awfully complex to understand, because the legal tests are somewhat abstract.


    Lowest rate Care is awarded to those who cannot prepare a cooked main meal from ingredients. It is also awarded to those who need care and attention in connection with bodily functions for a significant proportion of the day, usually one hour.

    In the section I've quoted above, the decision maker is merely saying that your need for help showering is restricted to a proportion of the day, which would only qualify you for the lowest rate Care component you already have.


    The higher rates of the Care component have two tests - a day and a night one. If you satisfy one of these tests you get middle rate Care and if you satisfy both you get highest rate Care.

    The day test requires you to need frequent attention throughout the day in connection with bodily functions, or continual supervision throughout the day to avoid substantial danger to yourself or others.

    The night test requires you to need prolonged or repeated attention during the night in connection with bodily functions, or someone needing to be awake at night to watch over you for a prolonged period or at frequent intervals.


    The DLA Care component only looks at needs in connection with your bodily functions (washing, showering, going to the loo etc.). It does not take into account the problems you have with caring for your child or, other than the 'cooking test', with household tasks.

    What public sector help there is with provision of aids for independent living is primarily administered by your council, mostly as Disabled Facilities Grants, though some smaller aids are provided by community equipment schemes that can often be accessed either via social services or the local NHS occupational therapy or physiotherapy services. Whilst many people do spend their DLA Care component on equipment to live more independently, the provision of equipment is not part of the criteria for award of the Care component.


    I know it's really hard to bare your soul about the problems you face in daily life - I've been through something like five rounds of DLA and, last year, a PIP application (PIP is replacing DLA for those between 16 and 64 over the next few years). I think the most likely argument you would have for a higher Care component award is if the combined effects of your physical disabilities, anxiety and depression leaves you with a repeated needs for attention during the day in connection with your bodily functions, for example if you need help most or every time that you go to the loo. On the limited information you have given, this does not appear to be the case. I suspect therefore that your current DLA award is correct. In any event, you should check out the other sources of help I mentioned in the previous paragraph.

    It is impossible to be certain about anyone's case for benefits in a forum context, where we do not have the advantage of full access to all the relevant information. I encourage you to seek advice from a local advice provider such as Citizen's Advice Bureau who should be able to advise you on an appeal to the First-tier Tribunal if they believe there is an arguable case for a higher DLA award.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flymo View Post

    The DLA Care component only looks at needs in connection with your bodily functions (washing, showering, going to the loo etc.). It does not take into account the problems you have with caring for your child or, other than the 'cooking test', with household tasks.

    .
    that's not strictly accurate.

    DLA can take into account care needs the claimant has looking after their child as long as they are being assisted with a bodily function I,e, help to physically hold a baby or help with outdoor activities to help to lead a normal life.

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    Quote Originally Posted by glasgowadviser View Post
    DLA can take into account care needs the claimant has looking after their child as long as they are being assisted with a bodily function I,e, help to physically hold a baby or help with outdoor activities to help to lead a normal life.
    Thank you for clarifying what I wrote, making my sloppiness much more precise.


    What I was trying to say is that the full breadth of childcare or domestic tasks will not be relevant to DLA Care component, so a simple argument of "I'm a mother and my disabilities gives rise to a need for extra support with childcare" is poorly fitted to the DLA legal tests.

    It is far better to isolate those elements of childcare which are relevant for DLA Care component, and write only about those. The childcare tasks that are relevant for DLA care component are those that increase the claimant's need:
    • for attention in connection with the claimant's bodily functions, and/or
    • supervision of the claimant to avoid danger to the claimant or others

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    You very clearly have nothing to lose, whether you have a justifiable case is another matter, have you considered contacting a Welfare Rights Worker to help you achieve this, possibly through your local Authority's Social Services dept, or perhaps Health Visitor ??.

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    Hi everyone

    Thank you for your replies, it is all so confusing I really don't know if I can face an appeal but I am going to get in contact with the CAB this week for further support. I did not know that certain childcare tasks would be relevant to my claim so I will look into that further thank you. Apart from childcare I do need a lot of help with personal care from my partner, things like showering, dressing, toilet requirements but I am a private person & I find it mentally exhausting imagining myself at appeal where from what I gather a panel of DWP officials grill you and try to pick holes in the help I've said I need. I do not take prescribed anti depressants or anxiety pills either. The simple reason being drugs in my system have a negative effect on me and simple medicines such as cold and flu tablets are too strong, they make me feel weak, spaced out and feint and not in control of my body. After a difficult birth with my daughter I agreed to take a prescribed painkiller and after 24 hours I stopped taking it as I couldn't walk in a straight line and I felt out of my head. I fought through the pain as my baby was only a few days old and I was her primary carer. I have also seen first hand what negative effects anti depressants can do to people and I don't want to go down that route. The DWP feel that as I don't take prescribed medication that my depression& anxiety are irrelevant and that is not the case. Like you said Jard I do not have anything to lose as the simple fact remains I have no left hand and its not going to grow back and yet the DWP are really making me question if I am entitled to help

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    Also I would like to add that for those of us working with childcare commitments and limited family members around to help how do the DWP expect us to be frequently visiting the doctor, physio etc to update them? I do not have the time, help nor the physical/mental strength some days and I get the impression from reading other peoples posts that unless you are visiting these medical professionals regularly providing in depth details about your problems then on a DLA claim form you come across as lying!!! I am growing more agitated the more I think about how ridiculous this whole process is and how much unnecessary stress has been a part of my life for the past 5 months and still it continues.....

  8. #8
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    DLA Appeal Tribunal's are totally independent of the DWP and consist of three members, a Chairman (who is usually a Lawyer), a Doctor and Disability Rights Worker/Adviser ( who may well be disabled themselves). From my personal experience, the whole hearing is quite informal and all members do everything they can to help you explain your problems and the merits of your case, so please don't have any worries on this score.

    But I would urge you to get the help of a trained adviser to put your case together.

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