Monday, 24 September 2012

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) Renewal - Again!

On the 6th September the Disability & Carers Service, part of the Department for Work & Pensions (DWP), sent me a letter and a renewal claim form. Despite the UK's notoriously inefficient postal system, Royal Mail somehow succeeded in delivering the missive on 10th September. Actually 'form' is an understatement: it is a thirty-five page booklet. Thus far I have managed to complete the first twelve pages at a rate of what is averaging out at two hours per page. At the rate I am going I shall definitely overshoot the required return date of 4th October. I have actually been given less than a month to complete it.

[Image description: page one of the mentioned form, DLA80; Crown ©]


Unfortunately I have multi-morbidities with concomitant co-morbidities which include several fluctuating conditions. This means I cannot answer yes/no to most things, but rather have to explain the range of symptoms, etc. Furthermore, on many days I cannot concentrate long enough to do anything useful on the form. I calculate at the current rate of progress, it is likely to take me up to two more months to fully complete, as I have already begun to enter my annual winter malaise. Yikes!

Every time I complete one of these renewal claims, I have requested that the form(s) be sent out much earlier, due to my inability to manage to fit into their tight time-frames. Every time I am ignored. This adds to my anxiety, puts me under unneeded additional stress and thus pejorates my health and well-being. This is direct discrimination and in breach of disability legislation, which expects service-providers, etc. to make reasonable adjustments.

Furthermore, I cannot write. And there is no carer to do it for me. So all my responses have to be typed. In this day and age one might have expected that the form could have been completed on-line or, at the very least, the DWP could have sent an electronic pro forma via email. (See also my rant on Govt. passport forms, disabled-friendly official forms.)

The only thing left to do is write a letter to the DWP to apprise them of the delay. Thankfully, I might just cut & paste and emend this article. But tomorrow, as I need my siesta now. ZZZZZzzzzzzz…

4 comments:

  1. Sorry you're going through this again. I've been half expecting mine, but from what you say, I may have a while to wait (my DLA always ends at the end of January, and I used to get the form at the beginning of September, so I had all autumn to worry about it, before a desperate scramble to get it done before Christmas).

    Top tip: when you type your answers, save it as a file with the answers clearly labelled. By the time it is renewed after this, it'll probably be a completely different form, but those written answers could still be very useful, even if you have to reorganise them so they answer completely different questions. Better that starting from scratch.

    By means of commiseration rather than actual help, my chap and I made a podcast about the emotional business of filling in DLA forms.

    Best of luck - hope you can get the time you need and that you get the right award first time. And that you manage to have some joy in your life in the next few weeks as you wade through that blasted form!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I couldn't get the podcast to work - might be my old computer!

      However I have read the whole transcript. "The lack of sensibleness in the questions, the lack of care in the questions, means that you're constantly feeling battered down by the answers. And battered by the questions. And it is amazingly depressing." Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me. It's so soul-destroying. Having been disabled for some fourteen/fifteen years I have found ways to manage, to live my life. These forms constantly remind one what has been lost. Not the healthiest of mental strategies...

      Your tip is a good'un: all my previous forms have been saved. Unfortunately, I have deteriorated since my last claim and have just sorted out some care from an agency after referral by local authority. That's going well. But it also iterates that I am losing a little more of my independence. The form could not have arrived at a worse time, emotionally & spiritually. But heigh-ho!

      Thanks for your feed-back, information & suggestions Goldfish.

      %)

      Delete
  2. I thought DLA forms were available as completable pdf's? What about this: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/advisers/claimforms/dla1a_adult.pdf ? But I do sympathise, very much, just hope you get it done and don't lose money!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jane,

      Thanks for the link. The form looks very similar to mine, but has a different number; so not sure I may use it. There are no notes with my form, just a covering letter and a return-envelope. There's no information anywhere about obtaining electronic formats. Pretty poor, given that it would be reasonable to expect many folk have difficulties writing, especially small.

      Sure I shall not lose out as long as I keep them apprised of my position. I'm very good at making lots of noise & fuss if they were to try to...

      Thanks again for your input.

      %)

      Delete