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Thread: dla been refused for baby with eczema

  1. #1

    dla been refused for baby with eczema

    I just want to moan and get this out of my system.

    Baby is one and has servere atopic eczema.

    He is creamed head to toe at every nappy change...approx 6 times a day. This involves stripping all clothung off and applying emmolients...this takes 20 mins each time...a simple nappy change woukd take around 3 minutes so my son requires an extra 17 minutes of care 6 times a day.

    I also apply steroid creams in the morning and at night....i then have to wait 20 minutes before applying emolient....so the first nappy change and getting him dressed and the last nappy change and steroid cream and emollient takes 45 mins.

    Bathing takes 2 of us as he is so upset as he is trying to scratch....he tears at his skin in the bath making it bleed...

    Getting him dressed and undressed he wrighles squirms/screams/cries/scratches...its hard to get it across how bad it really is...hes on piriton 3 times a day which really doesnt do much.

    He squirms when in his pram as hes irritable...he tries to climb out which is obviously dangerous if we r out.

    He is too irtitatted by his eczema to just sit and eat his food.

    He constantly wakes up...4/5 times a night...he needs creaming/bathing/comforting in which is exhausting...im lucky to get 6 hrs sleep a night.....theres more but my brains frazzled.

    Anyway dispite all this dla say he has no extra care needs above that of a child of his age so was declined the payment.

    Would you agree with there decision??

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    This is ridiculous, and that's coming from ME..... Get a grip of things woman for "crying out loud"

    Buster.

  3. #3
    Whats ridiculous??? Sorry i dont understand????

  4. #4
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    The reason you have been refused DLA from what I gather is that his care needs are not more than a child of his/her age. At the age of one you are expected to get up in the middle of the night and change him/feed him or her. At the age of one the baby basically needs 24/7 care and supervision.

    These reasons are most likely why DLA was refused.

  5. #5
    I understand what you are saying but is the creaming...controlling his skin infection....trying to get his burning itching skin under control....controlling his pain levels....walking the floor with him so so irritable and itching and in pain...are these not extra care needs.

    I have other children and they did not require the level of care and supervision that my baby does when they were the same age...yes they woke if they had a cold/abad dream/nappy change/a cuddle etc...but your talking 1-2 mins every couple of nights. Not 4-5 times every night.

  6. #6
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    Further to my last point you can put a mandatory reconsideration and then if still unsuccessful you can appeal to a tribunal. There is no risk attached to any of these and you are not losing anything in pursuing an appeal. However you are looking at several months for an appeal to a tribunal.

    I would also seek advice from Welfare Rights in your local area or from CAB who will be better to advise you on your situation.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    I have a relative with a little boy very seriously disabled from birth, they received nothing until he was about three years of age and the care component came a little before the mobility component if I remember correctly.

    You should talk to your health visitor or social worker to find out what help is available to you and they can help you obtain it.

  8. #8
    Senior Member
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    I am more familiar with DLA as it applies to adults, though DLA for children uses the same tests with some additional requirements and a couple of elements deleted. Wherever possible, I've tried to base my judgments on case law, but there is always a degree of subjectivity in the way the DLA tests are applied. I hope you can get other viewpoints on this, as I wouldn't want you to be guided purely by what I say. Feel free to take issue with some of what I've written if you disagree - you know your son far better than I do.

    I hope you can excuse the references to a "average child" in what follows. English doesn't have a good way of capturing succinctly the important comparator of "a child who does not have a physical or mental health condition", so I've used "average child" in its place. This feels awkward at the very least, but it's the best I can come up with. No disrespect is meant to your son in any way by the use of this term.

    I hope, too, that you can excuse me pulling apart what you wrote in the light of the legal tests and case law. Your son clearly needs a considerable amount of additional support compared to most one year olds, and it sounds like you and your partner are understandably exhausted. Unfortunately, the age referencing used for DLA is tough when it comes to the needs of the very young, as Jard notes.


    As you are aware, DLA for a child is assessed relative to an average child of the same age. This means that it can be very difficult to establish entitlement for a very young child, as average children of the same age would need a lot of care and supervision.

    All DLA Care component awards for a child require the child to have supervision and attention needs (viewed as a whole) beyond the most substantial needs of any average child of the same age (the "substantially in excess" requirement), or care needs that a younger child may have but an average child of the same age would never have. With a one year old, I think the "substantially in excess" route is the only option as I can't see there being many needs that all average one year olds will have grown out of.


    The daytime attention test for middle and highest rate Care is "frequent attention throughout the day in connection with bodily functions". I think this test is really harsh to you, as your son clearly needs more attention than an average one year old. However, as all one year olds will need attention at every nappy change, bath time and every time they are dressed and undressed, your son doesn't need attention any more frequently than an average one year old.

    If your son continues to need skin care attention six times a day when he reaches an age where both he and an average child are likely to be toilet trained and able to take themselves for a wee unaided, his skin care needs might become frequent attention, though case law establishes that attention that is only required in the morning, at lunchtime and at the end of the day is not normally frequent. However, once he reaches the age where he can take on some of the skin care for himself, the amount of help he needs from another person will depend on where the problem areas are on his body. I realise that the ideal is that DLA becomes irrelevant because his eczema is so much better.


    The alternative daytime test for middle and highest rate Care is "continual supervision throughout the day to avoid substantial danger to the claimant or others". The need for additional vigilance to ensure your son doesn't climb out of his pram falls far short of this. Whilst falling from a pram is substantial danger, an average one year old would need supervision when in a pram to avoid the same danger and your son is not continually (defined by case law as continuous apart from short breaks) in his pram during the day.


    The night attention test for middle and highest rate Care is "prolonged or repeated attention in connection with bodily functions". Case law has established "repeated" means more than a one-off or occasional need. As an average one year old could wake several times a night, I would say there's no more than 1 or 2 additional episodes over an average one year old, which is not "repeated".

    Case law has established that anything taking less than 20 minutes is unlikely to be "prolonged". You cannot count comforting back to sleep, as an average one year old would need comforting if they woke. That leaves applying cream, which you've said takes 20 minutes including a nappy change (which you cannot count), so this takes less than 20 minutes and is not, therefore, "prolonged". Again, this is really harsh on you, as it sounds as if you spend a substantial part of the night with your son, but it is to do with the age referencing of the DLA tests.


    The alternative night test for middle and highest rate Care is about a need for someone to watch over the claimant to avoid substantial danger to the claimant or others. I don't see anything relevant to this test in what you write.


    Your son appears to satisfy neither of the daytime tests and neither of the night tests for middle or highest rate Care at the moment. If I am right - and please seek other opinions on this - he cannot be awarded middle or highest rate Care. This is likely to be a substantial disappointment to you, not least you or your partner cannot get Carer's Allowance for looking after him without him being awarded one of these rates.

    As I have tried to highlight, your son's age is a significant factor in these conclusions. There are awards of middle and highest rate Care to children under two, but they tend to be very severely disabled or terminally ill.



    The lowest rate of the Care component uses a different test - "attention in connection with bodily functions for a significant portion of the day" (in one or more periods). I don't think it's possible to count the 20 minute wait between applying steroid cream and emollient, but subtracting that from the figures you give still leaves 112 minutes a day spent on skin care and the associated dressing and undressing (6 changes, the first and last taking 45 minutes less the 20 minutes wait, the others taking 20 minutes, deducting the 3 minutes needed to change the nappy of an average child in each case). The skin care needs appear to satisfy this test.

    The "substantially in excess" requirement also appears to be met. Few if any average one year olds will need two hours (plus the time you spend with your son on normal feeding, changing, bathing etc.) of attention per day in connection with bodily functions.

    The start date of a DLA award is the date of claim or when the needs have existed for three months, whichever comes later. The needs must continue at the assessed level for at least six months from the start date. This can be another significant hurdle with a very young child, as their additional needs compared to an average child of the same age can change quite quickly.

    However, if you can show it is more likely than not these requirements over duration of need are met, I see no reason why your son should not be awarded lowest rate Care.


    It may well be that others agree there's no reasonable prospect of middle or highest rate Care. If so, you can focus purely on lowest rate Care. It would certainly seem worth writing to request reconsideration of the decision on the basis that the nearly two hours of attention per day required for your son's skin care as a consequence of his eczema represents a need for "attention in connection with bodily functions for a significant portion of the day" which is not needed by a healthy one year old, and this leaves him needing "substantially in excess" of the attention required by any healthy one year old. Your letter should explain how you came to this figure of nearly two hours per day in a similar way to my explanation above.

    If you can get relevant supporting evidence that you haven't submitted already, enclose it with your letter, though supporting evidence is not mandatory.

    If possible, I recommend getting support from a welfare rights worker in making this request - but it can be hard to get welfare rights support within the limited time allowed for reconsideration. Writing your own letter seems better than letting the decision go unchallenged. Your letter must be with DWP within one month of the date on the decision letter. It's best to use Special Delivery so that you can prove the date of delivery.



    The Mobility component is not relevant to a child of your son's age. The minimum age for higher rate Mobility is three. The minimum age for lower rate Mobility is five.



    Have you investigated support other than DLA? Social Services may be able to offer you some support, such as respite care. I realise involving Social Services can be emotive when a child is involved, but I wanted to mention it anyway.

    I wish you, your partner and your son well.

  9. #9
    Your reply is amazing. Thank you thank you thank you so very very much. You have no idea how much i appreciate your reply.

  10. #10
    Senior Member
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    Sorry to hear about your child's situation - hope the eczema settles down sooner rather than later.

    DLA is for the extra costs of looking after an eligible child - do you really feel you are incurring extra costs because of your child's skin condition?

    Also, many parents of newborn babies would bite your hands off if you offered them 6 hours sleep a night. Sleep deprivation is part and parcel of the job unfortunately.

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