Asthmatics can get DLA…

Another item from the search engine list “Not fair, asthmatics do not get DLA”.

That’s completely wrong – where do people get these ideas? Maybe the particular asthmatic who wrote that got knocked back. All that means is that he or she may not have been severely disabled enough to qualify for DLA.

There seems to be massive ignorance regarding DLA, and what it’s for,  which is why I keep writing posts like this, trying to get the message across, but the particular illness, whether it’s asthma or something else, matters little – the only thing that matters, for DLA, is the degree of disability. The name should tell you that – Disability Living Allowance.

It is quite possible to have asthma and not be disabled – as was the case with me for much of my life (other factors did for me, as regular readers may know). To take an extreme example, it’s possible to have a life-threatening illness and not qualify for DLA, if you haven’t reached the stage where you’re actually, and demonstrably, disabled. And that’s another point – you can’t just say you’re disabled, you have to show you are; this is why the form is so complex, and why so many people are subjected to medical examinations. Despite what the Daily Mail thinks, disability benefits, like DLA, are not available simply for the asking. You will also read a lot of ill-informed garbage on this subject online. I tend to ignore it – you can’t argue with morons.

Back to asthma, though, and its main feature is that it’s reversible with treatment (hence its alternate title, Reversible Obstructive Airways Disease), and this is taken into account when you apply for DLA – they ask for a list of your meds (among much else). I think any application based on respiratory illnes is likely to result in a medical examination, something that should happen only once, because if you’re bad enough to claim DLA, you’re unlikely to suddenly recover. Age is a factor as well – if you’ve had asthma for, say, 40-50 years, you may well (though not necessarily – this is just an example), reach a stage where your meds become less effective, and changing them accomplishes nothing. At this point, your doctors will probably consider whether you are moving into COPD, a condition in which your breathing restriction is less reversible, even irreversible in time. Note: not everyone with asthma will go on to develop COPD, so please, don’t assume you will; in my case, I had bronchiectasis as well, which loaded the dice in favour of COPD quite substantially.

For the average person, though, having asthma (and I know some varieties of asthma can be suddenly severe and fatal – that’s why I said average), is not a disability of itself. That does NOT mean that asthmatics can’t get DLA, as was claimed. They can, and do; you just have to be disabled enough.

Going slightly off-topic – what the hell, it’s my blog – where asthmatics, here in the UK, are penalised is in having to pay for their  prescriptions. Even with COPD I didn’t get free scrips until I turned 60 (one of the few benefits of getting older). If, though, I was a few years younger, my annual bill for my meds would be £1200, which is out of the question. The argument is that I could get a pre-payment certificate, for £27.85 quarterly, or £102.50 annually. Many people on benefit, especially if they have families, just can’t afford that.

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68 thoughts on “Asthmatics can get DLA…

  1. hi ron,
    I have been a chronic asthmatic since age of 5. Long term steriod use for 30 years has left me with osteoporosis, which was diagnosed at 44 . I am 55 years of age now and was medically advised to stop work at 25 because I could not hold down full time employment. I take the usual medication prescribed and as time goes by I feel they are not as working as well as they used too. Despite low peak flow rates and constant chest infections and breathlessness I was turned down for dla mobility componant. How bad does an asthmatic have to be to qualify.

    • Hi Ruth,

      Asthma at that level, to my mind, should certainly qualify for DLA. Sadly, though, the whole process is now a lottery – there’s a commenter on one of my posts whose husband has COPD, a stoma, and has had both legs amputated. He reapplied for DLA, hoping to get the care component increased. Instead, he lost his higher rate mobility and, consequently, his Motability car. The system is falling to pieces, and the ones who suffer are the claimants. It’s not overwhelmed, it’s simply that, to a very great extent, the DWP are idiots, very often young and with no grasp of the realities of illness at all. Fire the lot of them, replace them with aging civil servants who are starting to fall to pieces a bit themselves, and I think you’d see a difference. Never going to happen, though, but it’s a fact that someone in their 20s, with no real experience of illness, is incapable of understanding what a claimant is tell them on the form – they have no point of reference.

      For that reason, I didn’t fill in the form. I typed my replies on A4 pages, indexed to the questions, so that I could explain as fully as possible. They’re quite happy with that as long as you put your name and NI number at the top of each page (I also sign and date each page, though I don’t think you have to).

      A lot depends, too, on how well the form is filled in, and on the information provided by the claimant – it’s all too easy to talk yourself out of benefit. ME, for example, is extremely variable, and on a very good day someone may be able to walk half a mile, but mostly they’d be hard-pressed to walk 20 yards, so it’s the 20 yards that goes on the form, and the good day doesn’t get a mention. My advice is always to tell the truth, but the version of the truth that benefits you.

      You say you were turned down for mobility – did you get anything at all? I’m not being nosy, but from what I’ve heard, getting higher care often rules out mobility (their logic being that if you’re that sick, you won’t be going anywhere).. And have you completed the appeals process? If not, then appeal immediately, and maybe seek help from a local benefits advice group.

  2. Hi Ron
    Thanks for your quick response. I know you are not being nosy. I was awarded the lower rate of mobility componant and lower rate care componant, after appealing against their refusal. The mobility componant because I also suffer from anxiety and am receiving med for that. The care componant was awarded because of the effects of the osteoporosis. What I cannot understand is why asthma was not taken into consideration. it was the severity of asthma over many years and the fact that I had to be on steriod treatment for 30 years that caused the osteoporosis in the first place. This is what confuses me, why cant the dm understand that. I tried to explain that to them. but seems to have fell on deaf ears. I have attented a respitory clinic for 40 years regularly and it was on their advise i had to leave work, not something that a 20 year wanted to do. but my asthma was that bad i had to. Look forward to your thoughts and advise on that. thanks Ron

    • Hi Ruth,

      Yeah, I know what you mean about quitting work – I was told at 15 that I must never work, but if I did I must never work in the winter, and never use public transport (a massive source of potential infection). At that age, it’s not what anyone wants to hear, and I managed to work until I was 38 – losing almost every job I ever had through excessive sick leave. I think if I’d have heeded the advice I wouldn’t be as sick as I am now. Ah well, water under the bridge…

      Anyway, back to your problem. As you exhausted the process and got an award, even if it’s buttons, you’re stuck with it. From April that’ll be worth £37.30 a week, not to be sneezed at, but not as much as you should have got. Based on my own experience, and what you’ve told me, I think you should have got higher mobility and middle care (lower care is money for old rope – anyone who doesn’t get that isn’t trying hard enough.

      You’re stuck with it for 6 months from the date of your award, when you can re-apply. If I were you, I’d get a form now and start work on it. You can download a form from this page http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/FinancialSupport/DG_10011925 and what you want is the first item under this heading Download a claim form to complete on your computer . If you’re not sure how, let me know, and tell me which browser you use.

      There are some things you can do to enhance your chances of a successful claim next time, so if you can confirm your email address is correct I’ll get in touch directly (some people don’t post their genuine email address).

  3. Hi Ron
    Sorry you were in similar circumtances yourself regarding illness and work. Welfare rights told me I have a month to think about appealing. I got the award for an indefinate period so I am reluctant to appeal as I hear some people lose it all. What angers me is that the illness that caused all the problems in the first place is ignored. its the side effects from the medication that they seem to have based their decision on. The problem is they do not see how people can struggle with illness on a day to day basis and perhaps are not qualified to make the correct decisions. It is not to be sneezed at but at times I think the system is wrong.

    • One thing to think about when it comes to appealing – you haven’t had the money long enough to get used to it, so if you lose it it won’t hurt you a lot financially – so it may be worth appealing.

      My understanding is that if your application is successful – even if you don’t get as much as you expected – you can’t appeal. You can appeal if your claim fails. I may be wrong on that aspect, but do check with another source, to make sure what you’ve been told is right.

      If you do appeal, or even wait a while and reapply, then there are things you can do to enhance your claim, especially when it comes to a medical (did you have one, by the way?)

      What angers me is that the illness that caused all the problems in the first place is ignored. its the side effects from the medication that they seem to have based their decision on.

      That’s ludicrous – decisions are supposed to be based on the illness, and on the degree of disability it causes – meds have sod all to do with it, except to ensure that you’re adequately medicated – I think, if it really is permissible, that you have grounds for appeal right there.

      You’re right, of course, the system is deeply flawed, and there is absolutely no consistency – that’s what’s stopped me applying to try and get the middle care rate, even though I badly need it. The risk of losing what I already have is too great.

      Is your email address correct, by the way? It’s just that there is something you can do that I’m unwilling to commit to a public forum like this.

      Oh, and in addition to welfare rights people – is there anyone locally who can work with you on your appeal, if you decide to go with it?

  4. hi Ron ,

    yes my e-mail is correct May be I havn`t given you all the info needed to comment completely

  5. Hi

    I have found these posts very interesting and wish you both well.

    I’m 37 and have had asthma since I was a baby, I take inhalers, tablets and nebulise six times a day.

    I have just this moment finished filling in the DLA form and will now just wait and hope.

    • Hi Liz,

      Best of luck with that, but if you’re asked to go for a medical, do get back in touch – I’ve got some ideas on that front. And if you’re ultimately turned down, appeal immediately.

      Ron.

  6. Thanks Ron

    I have been thinking about the medical , I see a consultant at the hospital every month so wondered if they would accept that he would know what he was talking about?.

    I will get back in tough if they do ask for one

    Liz

    • Hi Liz,

      You’d think so, wouldn’t you? Unfortunately, these days, DLA is something of a lottery, no matter what’s wrong with you (in the comments on my COPD and DLA post, a guy who’d lost both legs, with a stoma and COPD, tried to get a higher care rate. Instead he lost his higher mobility payment, which cost him his Motability car). I’ll swear they make it up as they go along!

      About 50% of DLA claims fail, but many are reversed on appeal, which is why I mentioned that.

      Ron.

  7. Hi Ron, i put in 4 d.l.a as i have asthma and c.o.p.d, but got refused, i have appealed and got letter from tribunal services but still waiting 4 a date, this was in february, have you any idea how long it takes be 4 i will get a date, i applied 4 D.L.A in october, so why is it taking so long. thanks Kath.

    • Hi Kath,

      Really, it takes as long as it takes – it’s completely unpredictable – but 6 months is exceptional. It’s worth getting in touch – be nice to them! – and asking what’s happening. It’s possible your file has been mislaid or just forgotten about. On the plus side, whatever you eventually wind up with, it’ll be backdated to October.

      While you’re waiting it might be worth seeking advice from your local benefits advice centre – try the Yellow Pages or ask the CAB.

      Have you had a medical yet?

      I’m serious about being nice to them, by the way, not least because you accomplish more that way, but mainly because at the sharp end of the system it’s just normal people doing a despised job.

      Ron.

  8. Hi Ron,
    My Daughter has been getting disability allowance since she was 2 years old, she is now 18, and unfortunatley has been refused.
    She is on 4 different inhalers, steroids, nebulizers and other pills. She also has Atopis eczema.
    Having gone to a tribunual, we got our decision and she was yet again refused, the reasons of this was the fact that my daughter ”apparently” hadnt turned up for any appointments at her respiritory clinc, prior to this i had explained to the panel that we had not recieved any notification about any appointments, as we were attending asthma clinics at our local GP centre, another reason which made me and my husband laugh was that they denied my daughter her claim because she was able to cook her self a meal for one. (My Daughter did not say this, might i add, it seems that they make up their own minds on her ability to do things)
    I am going to keep on appealing untill we have got what is rightfully ours, we arent frauds, my daughter is genuinly ill, its just made me mad that they’ve made their descision on everythng but her actual condition itself, my daughters not a complete invalid, ofcourse she is able to do things for herself, TO AN EXTENT.
    I do hope im not just fighting a losing battle here though, because thats what it feels like.
    Your blogs has made me realise alot though, how ill does somebody have to be before they are awarded?

    Samantha

    • Hi Samantha,

      That’s bull. There is no requirement to attend OP clinics, it’s entirely irrelevant to her claim. I haven’t been to a respiratory clinic for over 10 years. There’s very little point and there’s a very good chance you come out with someone else’s chest infection! By the way, if your daughter was seeing a consultant – or anyone else for that matter – she needs to find out what they told the DLA people. That she can’t be that sick, as she didn’t keep her appointments, for example. It happens.

      OK, that claim’s over, there’s no further appeal after the tribunal. After the requisite time your daughter can reapply and, when that happens, do get back to me. How you fill in the application form – even the form of words used – can have a big impact on the success or otherwise of your daughter’s claim.

      Also, when it comes to DLA, delete the words “TO AN EXTENT.” from your vocabulary. I mean that, seriously. Just give them absolutes. For example, If you’re provided with the ingredients, can you prepare a meal, the answer is No. No qualifications. Not, Yes, but it’s hard, or No, unless I have help. Just a flat, unqualified, No. It’s very easy, with DLA, to over-explain, and talk yourself out of a claim. A friend could never get Lower Care, because she always said, No, I can’t cook, but I can if my husband helps. Her husband should have been totally irrelevant – the claim is based, or should be, on what she can do unaided – but she still didn’t get it. This year she listened to me, simply said No. And got the money.

      And for DLA, as with IB, walking ability is the kingpin of the application and, again, when it comes time to reapply, I’ll happily talk to you about that. Please let me know if you’re happy for me to email you. Really, though, it’s best not to guess when they ask for specifics. I would have guessed 40-50 metres a minute for my walking speed, but I timed it, with a stop-watch, over a measured distance and it was under 40 metres.

      “Your blogs has made me realise alot though, how ill does somebody have to be before they are awarded?” Good question. How long is a piece of string? I know someone (intimately) who gets the full whack of DLA and, beyond a couple of sore muscles in her arm, there’s nothing wrong with her except chronic hypochondria (over 400 doctors – yes, really – have pronounced her perfectly fit. It is, to an unacceptable extent, a lottery.

      Right now, for example – if the comments I’m seeing are at all typical – it’s hard for people with respiratory illnesses to get DLA. There is one guy – there’s a comment on my blog somewhere – who applied in the hope of getting a higher care payment, and lost his higher mobility instead. He has severe COPD and no legs!

      I need to apply for a higher care payment too, but I daren’t take the risk of losing what I already have, even though I’m a lot sicker and more disabled than when it was first awarded.

      Don’t give up, though. Reapply as soon as you can. You can download a form to complete on your computer from http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/FinancialSupport/DG_10011925 By far the best way to do it, as you can tinker with it until you get it right (it’s a form, like the IB50, which should never be rushed).

      Ron.

  9. Hi Ron,

    Thankyou for your reply,
    We were told at the tribunual that the doctor had said exactly that,-”She cant be that ill, as she never attented any appointments”
    We are re-appealing and having taken into concideration what you have said, i will tell my daughter just to give the straight forward, yes or no answers, if we have to go to tribunual again.
    I think a big hinder to the decision we got was our application though, i think i focused more on the stuff that my daughter can do rather than what she cant do, but still shes been getting disability allowance for nearly 16 years now, her condition has by no means developed, however this is the first time iv had to appeal.
    After contacting the DLA telling them that i wish to appeal again, they informed me that i need to send them a letter with reasons to which i disagree with our first decision.
    So at least iv got the ball rolling, i can honestly say, i will not stop reappealing untill she does get it, because as you said ”I know someone (intimately) who gets the full whack of DLA and, beyond a couple of sore muscles in her arm, there’s nothing wrong with her except chronic hypochondria” i dont know anything about her illness, but if she gets it than why shouldnt my daughter, who in my eyes, has a severe illness.
    And yes certainly Ron i am happy for you to e-mail me.

    Thanks
    Samantha

    • Hi Samantha,

      Interesting – I think I’d better start hounding my doctor in case he thinks I’ve magically recovered! I’ve only seen him for emergencies for about 5 years – well, he’s not going to cure me and, after 60 years, it all began to seem a bit futile. I seem to have spent my life sitting in waiting rooms. But, just because the DLA people have never bothered me – I got mine for life – is no reason to assume they won’t. They can mess with anybody at any time.

      And as for your daughter not attending appointments – what does it matter? I’ve spent most of my life attending chest clinics, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times it actually did me any good. Personally, I’d be inclined to make a formal complaint to the hospital – you can find out how on their website.

      Yep, that was exactly the wrong way round, I’m afraid. With DLA (and also IB and ESA), the emphasis should be on what you can’t do, not what you can. Especially now, when they seem to be tightening up. Also, emphasise how hard it is to do things that have to be done, like getting dressed and undressed, if that’s a problem.

  10. Hi all!!!
    Well here goes my second attempt of claiming the DLA allowance.
    I was in hospital all of last week, was told by the specailist that i should now consider giving up work.
    I’m 33 and have had asthma all of my life, have been admitted into hospital on lots of occasions.
    My Consultants at the hosptial said that they feel that i need the financial support and this would be the best option for me.
    I am worrying myself sick that it will be refused once again and will not know where to turn if that happens.
    The forms on the first occasion when filling in i was complettely honest (perhaps to honest)
    I have filled these in as if it was my worst day (my mum helped me fill them in as she has been through the process with her own claim and my sisters claim.
    I feel really guilty though on some of the questions as i know i struggle but didn’t want to make out that i was uncapible of doing anything.
    Am i just being silly?
    Well i will let you all know how i get on.. Fingers crossed.

    • Am i just being silly?

      No, you’re just not being cynical enough. With DLA, as with IB, you need to emphasise what you can’t do. If you say, for example, normally I can’t do A (whatever A might be – it doesn’t matter), but on a good day I can, then they’ll look at the good day. If, on the other hand, you say I can’t do A. Period. Then that’s what they’ll see. You tell them about how disabled you are in absolute terms. Unless it benefits you, never explain. Only explain if it makes you look worse, never if it makes you look better.

      OK, you figured it out, and filled in the forms as per your worst day. That’s exactly right. But why feel guilty? If you struggle, you have a problem. That problem is disability, so point it up.

      You shouldn’t have to think like that but, sadly, you do. It’s particularly important right now since, as far as I can see, people with respiratory illness are having a pretty hard time with DLA.

      By the way, if your illness dates from before last October 28 (I think – somewhere near the end of the month anyway), you can also claim Incapacity Benefit. After that, unfortunately, it’s ESA and all the crap that entails.

      Ron.

  11. hi ron

    i’m a 25 year old male who has severe brittle asthma diagnosed when i was 3) chest infections and suspected oesteoperosis as i have been on prednisolone on and off since i was a 3yr old baby. i have yet again just lost a job i loved doing and been doing for 3 years with struggles. in november last year i cought phewmonia as my job was working out doors in all weathers and my chest has not really recovered properly from this. i see a chest specialist who told me quote “you are not fit to work anymore rhodri i am going to write to your employer recomending that you are no longer fit to work” and she did i recieved the letter a few days ago took it to my employer who has now terminated my contract of employment due to ill health i have kept the original copy of my consultants letter and have my employers letter too. i tried in vein to get DLA when i was 17 yrs old i filled in the forms sent them off but it was my gp (of who’m i was registered with since birth and still is)that was the turn down, he had informed them that with asthma control i would live a perfecrly normal life without any form of disability at all!! but yet at the time he wouldnt allow me to work for 6 months due to an attack that left me in hospital for nerly 2 weeks. i am somwhat affraid to claim again as i am scared that it would get refused and going to a tribunal would stress me out too much (stress irratates my chest something chronic). i was woundering if i did fill in the form again how and wich way is it best to word it and what kind of evidence can i provide to back up my claim, my list of medications is huge and i’m in pain 24/7 these days because of damaged vertibre in my spine in wich my consultant thinks is related to oesteoperosis .i have had ct scan on my lungs wich confirmed what was diagnosed when i was three and now awaiting a bone density scan to confirm the oesteoperosis but i am taking the meds for it anyways as preventative/early treatment. i just dont know what to do. as i am breathless most of the time, i get really bad days and bad days. any info you can provide me would be greatfull.

    • Hi Rhodri,

      First up, are you still with the same GP, or have you switched to one who doesn’t own a crystal ball? No-one can forecast how an illness is going to go years in the future. If you are, talk to him – yell at him if necessary – make him aware he screwed up and you’re applying for DLA again and this time you expect his support. By the sound of it, your consultant’s support is a given.

      First stop is to get a DLA form that your can complete on your computer from here http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/FinancialSupport/DG_10011925 That way you can tinker with it for as long as it takes.

      When you fill in the form, focus on the bad stuff – if there is any good stuff, forget it. Like me, you may find the form is inadequate, so if you have to give a long answer that won’t fit in the box. type your answer on a separate sheet of A4. In fact, I did that for almost the entire form for both DLA (Mobility Allowance when I got mine), and Incapacity Benefit. They’re perfectly happy with this, you just need to put your name and NI number at the top of each sheet, and index the answers to the questions.

      Basic rule of DLA – don’t explain too much. If it makes you look worse, explain. If it makes you look better, don’t. For example, the Lower Care payment depends on one question – if provided with the ingredients, can you cook a meal? In your case, the answer sounds like No. So just say No. Don’t say No, but if someone helps me, I can, because that will count as Yes. It shouldn’t, but it does. So don’t explain, just say No to that one.

      The same logic applies to most other questions. If, by any chance, you have occasional good days, keep them to yourself.

      You will almost certainly get stuck with a medical examination, so make them come to you. People that go to them are assessed, secretly, from the moment they enter the premises – sounds like paranoia, but it’s true, so you need home ground advantage. And, of course, you’re too sick to go to them.

      As well as DLA, you’ll get to delve into the bag of worms that is ESA, which is something I have no experience of, but the same principles should apply. And it’s a time when, rude though it maybe, coughing all over the buggers should get their attention when it comes to the all work test. In your case, they may well decide you can be desk-jockey. That’s not the answer, but you may have your work cut out making them understand.

      By the way, DLA is independent of ESA – it’s even payable if you’re working if your disability warrants it.

      Since the osteoporosis is probably down to long-term steroid use, milk that for all it’s worth. They do look at your meds, so be sure to point that on the one hand, your meds are beneficial, but on the other they do cause their own problems.

      You may want to think about talking to a local benefits advice group and maybe an advocacy service, too – just in case it goes to a tribunal. Respiratory illness claims don’t seem to be doping too well right now.

      Thta’s all I can think of for now but if there’s anything specific you need to ask, do get back to me. Oh, and let me know how well Hotmail handles attachments – I’ve got a how-to advisory document for DLA, but it’s about 500KB.

      Ron.

  12. thank you for your prompt reply ron greatly appretiated. i have made an over the phone claim for ESA in wich i coughed most of the way through the 45 min call and had to take my inhaler a couple of times (the calls are allways recorded for purposes benefitial to them) but to point out there were 2 questions asked in the call that might have a bareing on a claim for DLA i was asked the following
    1. does anyone care for you on a full time basis that exceeds 35 hours per week.
    my reply was yes my partner cares for me on a full time basis
    2. what was the date of diagnosis of your illness/disability
    my reply was i was three years old when i was diagnosed with severe brittle asthma i cannot give you a specified date i will have to ask my GP. i was then told that i have to have a exact or exact month that i wa diagnosed as it will have an impact on my claim for ESA.
    Also at the end of that call the operator told me that the system told her that i was not eligable for DLA or any other illness or disability benefit. i challenged this i as i told her that this is now the 5th job i had lost due to being unable to carry out my duties in work due to my disableing illness,
    she then told me to contact the dla help line to request a DLA form and care component form.
    also i was not able to claim carers part of ESA as i was not getting the care component of DLA even though im being cared for over 35 hours per week!
    in my honest opinion these questions are linked to DLA side of things and if these dont correspond to what i or anyone put down in their claim for DLA there will be a big problem. be carefull people document everything you put down or tell the DWP get 2 claim forms if you have to and write everything down you think is beneficial to you when contacting them over the phone. they are recorded for them to use against you. oh and sorry ron no attachments that i could see in the e-mail you sent me! but work at it i have had same problems with hotmail and attachments but saying this as an idea try compressing the file with winrar or winzip worked for me in the past. also i am compileing evidence to support all my claims DLA ESA etc wich comprises of hospital addmition letters from the last 12 months, consultant appointment letters, scan appointment letters, medication repeat prescrition form, prescribed medication from my consultant (pharmecy lables, labled on med box’s) the letter from my consultant to my previous employer, my employers letter in response to my consultants letter. and anything i can get out of my medical records from my GP yes i have had the same GP for 25 years i thought he would of backed me up the last time as he knows my condition better than anyone else i am going to make an appointment with him and ask if i got his backing this time as i have got backing from my consultant.
    (been up all night with back pain again!)

    • Morning Rhodri,

      Well, to put it frankly, whoever you spoke to is full of shit. Ignore them and claim DLA. The two benefits aren’t linked in anyway at all – you can claim DLA even if you’re working as it’s entirely to do with your disability, not your ability to work, as with ESA.

      Presumably, you have a crap sick-leave record, like me – I lost every job I ever had because of excessive sick leave, and eventually became unemployable, though as that coincuided with mt developing ME/CFS and beconing unable to work anyway, it wasn’t as big a problem as it might otherwise have been. Anyway, every sick note you’ve ever submitted will be on file, so don’t be shy about pointing this out to them if they get obstructive – it worked for me.

      I don’t think those questions are particularly sinister.

      Q1 was routine, and on that basis your partner should bang in a claim for Carer’s Allowance.

      Q2 is because if your illness started before the end of October last year, the appropriate benefit is Incapacity Benefit. i.e. the point at which you officially became unable to work – the fact that you’ve been ill all your life counts for nothing, unfortunately.

      Re email – I haven’t actually sent you anything yet – I just need to know that Hotmail can handle biggish attachments before I do.

      Personally, I would never talk to anybody on the telephone beyond “Send me a claim pack, please,” as unless you’re able to record the conversation yourself, you’ll have no record. And, bizarrely, recording your own phone calls is illegal! By the way, ESA phone calls are analysed by some scrofulous software that measures stress elements in your voice and decides whether or not you’re lying – not everyone knows that, though it’s never been a secret. And who wouldn’t be stressed phoning them?

  13. Hi Ron
    I was taken ill last year around July time, then was when i first made a claim for DLA via the website.
    I got turned down it stated:
    Looking at the medication that i am on they do not feel that i am entitled to DLA.
    I called to appeal, 1st time they said that they haven’t been intouch with the specailists at the hospital.
    2nd time was the same reason given (medicaion) they feel i am able to do daily activities.
    I called again to appeal, i asked them on this occasion have they wrote to my consutant and doctor, have they got a list of the medication i am on, the answer was NO!!!
    The guy i spoke to said that they have independant bodies come in to do the assements!!!
    I went to my local councller, he couldn’t do much for me either.
    I am hoping this time with the back of the specailists on the form that i will get somewhere.
    I feel for everyone that is going through this emotional roller coaster, it is not nice.
    ESA is a real pain in the bum, they are so strict on get the sick notes in on time, you would think that the DWP/Social could just sort it out directly with the GP’s instead of us doing the running around.
    Any how will let you all know how i get on.

    • They may have a point about medication, as from what I’ve seen just on this blog, people can be substantially under-medicated for their condition. However, meds are only one factor, and there are many more to be considered – a claim is unlikely to be rejected solely on the basis of meds. As a matter of interest – if you don’t mind my asking – exactly what are you taking?

      Oh, and DWP staff should NOT be making decisions based on medication – they simply do not have the medical knowledge, and every person is different.

      I have to ask, though, why you’re talking to them on the phone. Don’t – do everything in writing, then you have a permanent record.

      The DWP employ outside contractors for both medical exams and tribunals, and neither have any prior knowledge of your claim. This supposed to be so they’ll be unbiased. However, it’s importnat and exams and tribunals to stick to whatever you wrote on thr form, unless you’ve become worse, in which case do make them aware of it.

      My advice would be never to process a claim for benefit on the phone, or talk to them beyond the absolute basics – as in Please send me a claim pack. With DLA, you don’t even need to do that, as you can download a form to complete on your computer from here
      http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/DisabledPeople/FinancialSupport/DG_10011925

      I’ve been on disability benefits since 1986, and I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of times I’ve spoken by phone with benefits people. Despite what it says all over that page I’ve linked to, I just won’t do it. I’ll happily fax them (Windows XP has its own fax applet; dunno about Vista), or send letters by mail – that way I’ve always got a record. DLA claims are never so urgent that you need to talk on the phone, when your call will not just be recorded, your voice will probably be analysed, by software, to see if you’re lying (this is routine with ESA – it’s no secret – so it’s best to assume it’s happening across the board). If the computer thinks you are, you’re screwed.

      These days it’s almost never to your benefit to talk to these people. Trust me, they are NOT on your side. They never have been, as the staff are supposed to be 100% neutral, but I’m increasingly hearing that this is no longer the case, and that they can be hostile and unhelpful. Of course, they’re only human, and if you’re the 20th phone call about a claim, their patience may wear a bit thin. That doesn’t happen with letters. And, of course, you can make sure you don’t say anything you’ll later regret – not so easy on the phone.

      Your councillor can’t help, nor can your MP, so save your energy. And, btw, sick notes have always been required on time, I wouldn’t have a problem with that, but if you feel you’re not able to go to see your doctor, ask either if s/he will sign you for off for, say, six months (or indefinitely if your ability to work is profoundly impaired). Or ask for a home visit. However you do it, though, it’s vital that you get your sick notes in on time.

      Ron.

  14. hi ron
    yes hotmail copes well with files under 2mb as i am aware received many around 512 – 1mb in attachment form from friends. as for phoning the devil’s demons (dwp) i relatively had no other option my JC+ had no available forms (i know bullshit but i cant be arsed to argue and stress over that fact purely because i have no energy to do so with them) and was given a free phone number to make an over the phone claim for ESA i had the statement pack from them today and yes as per usual the idiots got information wrong that i had given to them!! i pay quite allot more than £5.00 in rent charges per week i can tell you lol! love to pay that amount though free living. yes i do have an extremely crap work record longest job was the one i just got retired from 3years with them they seemed to be sympathetic towards my condition, all the others were “your sickness record is at one of the highest amoung all our employee’s in the company i think it would be best for you if we let you go!” never held a job down more than a year. i’m feeling somewhat mentally and physically exhausted at the moment with stress of things hapening so quickly (i do not adapt well to sudden lifestyle changes it upsets me mentally as much to say i can get deeply depressed for a lenghy period of time till i adjust) and that yet again i got to enter into the battle for what i am entitled to in DLA, ESA,IB. now i’m in a battle for the phone que as i got sort out theyre fuk up coz they cant be arsed to listen to you properly the first time! my advice if JB+ give you that freephone number chuck it back and demand to see an adviser dont do what i did.

  15. great bit of info there i have saved to favourates.

    also ron dont mean to be a pain in the ass but im compileing my answers to the quetsions on the editable pdf. dla form on seperate sheets of paper that im doing in microsft word if i sent them to you would you have a look at them as i seriosly dont know how to word the answers i would be gretefull if youd giveme you honest opinion.

    • Yep, no problem. You may not get an answer today, as Thursday’s pub day, but I’ll get back to you pretty quickly.

      Ron.

      • hi ron it’s been some weeks since i last posted this is because i havent been verry well damn weather has hit me hard this year. anyway i headed your advice when i sent you my answer sheet to dla form, and had the better vision and idea of how to word it propely, simply put i asked my mum about my condition and what she see’s me struggle with everyday and with your advice me and my mum filled out a new sheet(s) and sent it off JULY 12th, with my consultants letter that i am too i’ll to work. a week and a half later i had a reply that they had recieved the form and will notify me if they need more evidence, a week after this i had a medical services letter to attend a medical centre local to me, as advised i sent a letter back requesting a home visit (sent recorded next day)as i am too ill to attend at the centre, i then recieved a phone call from the cemtre i was to attend in the afternnon next day the receptionist asked if it were possible for the medical assesor to call in at around 12:30 pm at the end of that week i agreed. so my partner running round the house tidying everything 3 times over did my head in completely youd thought the queen was about to call in for tea, so friday came and 12:30 passed so did 1 and so did 2 i’m starting to think that he aint coming then a friend that lives in my street phoned and said that theres been a guy sat in his car for about 2 and a half hours just looking down at our house i said thats odd but with that said he pulled awau from her house and low and behold parked outside mine! so putting the phone down i asked my partner to answer the door i had a quick look to see if all my med were next to me. he came in and apologised for being late he had trouble finding my area and street and had to call back to the sergery because he needed some documents i thought u liar u been watching me for hours. so he went through my dla form (so did i about fourty times on the comp before he arrived) got me to try and go up/down my stairs, he then said come outside with me for a walk i must asses how far u can walk unaided before you feel discomort, i replied it’s pouring down with rain outside the air is damp and it causes my asthma to play up, plus going from warm house to cold damp air and back into warm makes my symptoms worse and this is in my dla answer sheet. he looked at me paused for about 30 seconds and said ive never heared of such cods waddle, i imediately said excuse me can you repeat that he then corrected himself and said ive never heared of the weather affecting asthma my partner then said it affects him in a big way if he gets damp or wet he develops a chest infection and cold with his asthma he tends to avoid going out in the rain and cold even with a brolli purely because the damp air makes him have an asthma attack, the doc stayed silent and looked down at my sheets and his and wrote down something. he then said we wont go far to end of the strreet about 40 yards, i looked at my partner and thought this guy is an arsehole, so i replied if you insist i asked my partner to do the usual when im ill and luck brought it i was rather short of breath that day wasnt one of my best days must admit so y partner help put my socks n stuff on the my jumper and my jacket, doc noted all, i then got up with help and then got to front door opened it and let doc go out first he pointed wich way to walk i said arent you comeing with me he said no i cant assist you i can only watch so walking about 10 feet i had to stop it was no good damp air got to me straight away the doc shouted why have you stopped i waved my hand at him i couldnt speek too breathless my partner then came out and let me rest against her she then went into my pocket pulled out my inhaler and basically med’d me the norm for her five mins later still tight chested from damp air and help from misis got in house where yet again had another attck this time misis setup neblizer and 5.ml given doc asked what dosage she had given me she replied 2.5 ml x2 5ml he then replied but on his prescription it only down as 2.5ml my partner said yes but his gp has said to me if his inhaler doesnt work give him 5ml booster and if his chest doesnt ease call an ambulance so doc waited till the end of my neb i had fallen asleep like i normally do my partner woke me and doc said that he has never ever seen asthma affect someone so severly being groggy i just nodded my head aslo felt dizzy and wanted this doc outa my house so doc said he has seen enough and said his good buys went in his car and drove away i fell back to sleep. had the letter from the dla today my claim has been turned down on the basis that i failed to meet the criteria of a medical assement i scored 5 out of ten i thought huh i answered everything as it was on the form i preped for the medical given guidance i used wals to help me walk room to room i stopped on the stairs took my inhaler god sake i even had an asthma attack infront of the geeza wheezed all over him spent ages going through form coz i was breathless, and i didnt even move from the settee from 10 am till he came just incase he was watching as i heared horror stories they spend ages that day watching you before they do the assesment. so apeal is going in oh and because i failed the assesment it has had an impact on my income support they cut it to half had the letter tday also so i’m screwed for money till this is overturned. i would like to see what he wrote down i really would.

        • A few points – they don’t spy on you at home. If you attend their premises then you’re assessed from the moment you enter the door. Not at home though.

          Income Support is nothing whatsoever to do with DLA – DLA is payable even if you’re working. Whatever the reason behind the cut, it’s certainly not your DLA claim. You need to chase it up.

          Some doctors are idiots – that’s why they work DLA claims – they can’t get a proper job. Just bear in mind that a great many appeals are successful.

  16. hi, i was having the high rate care and high rate dla since 2006 i re put in my claim got high rate dla and they have reduced my care to low put in appeal said they will look again asked for gp report they sent it to me g.p put my condition detereatg discs cfs fibromalgia incontinence but when question re dressg washg she just answered full thats it so they said it was because of that unfortuatly in the middle of claim i had to move g.p so she couldnt do me letter asked new gp who had to wait ages for my notes also severe depression soz],so had new letter from gp saying i did need help washg dressg etc and that thought old gp full answer had been read wrong and was meant to say full help not that i could fully do it myself also on very high medication for pain also had letter from incontinence nurse and social worker do you think they will be in my favour or they will send me for medical i know my medical condition is true i have to live with it am only 40 havent worked since 2005 after working since i was 14 so am no fraudster but my poor old mum went 16 years ago they told her it was in her head and she killed herself never forgive them so i will dread that as the fibromalgia does affect me like that too please help

  17. hi ron, i lost my claim for DLA over seven years ago (H/R care L/R mob ) I went through with a review and an appeal ….no luck… I was on DLA for severe asthma and mental health issues. both of these conditions hae never left me and i have been constantly on meds for both conditions, been hospitalised several times again for both conditions and now find myself in a homeless crisis unit for mental health issues. I see a psychatrist, attend an asthma clinic, recieve twice weekly visits from a mental health charity attend counciling sessions and suffer from bladder incontinance. any advice on re-applying for DLA would be greatfully apriciated. I am 48 years old my asthma is very severe and i suspect that it may be developing into COPD as both parents died of COPD related deaths (COPD mentioned on both death certificates ) I have two sisters and a brother who have been diagnosed with COPD

  18. I think everyone gets turned down first claim unless they are totally paralysed from the neck down it seems. I just phoned up the DLA to see if I could get any DLA care. It seems that I could put the whole thing in jeapardy when he (who sounded 16) says I could get more, less or have it stopped completely. This is so comforting and has totally put me off completing a fallen rain forest to the risk of having what I have stopped. I am scared now and will probably just leave things as they are and continue struggling.

    • The person you got may well have been very young – it’s the clerical assistants and clerical officers who are the foot-soldiers of the benefits system. Which is why I always say be nice to them – the fact that the system is shit isn’t their fault.

      The advice you got was honest, anyway – reapplying for DLA, which is what you have to do, you can just apply for care, is a minefield, and you are as likely to lose what you have as get more. There’s just no way of telling – and that’s the reason I haven’t tried to get middle care, even though I need it and quality for it.

      Somewhere here there’s a comment referring to a guy who has lost both his legs, has COPD and other problems, who reapplied in the hope of getting , I think, middle care, and lost his higher mobility instead. That should be a warning for anyone thinking of reapplying to try and get more money. And how that can happen in any sane universe is quite beyond me.

      Ron.

  19. Hi.

    I work for Tax Credits, and i’m not being funny, but listening to the people on the phone saying they’re claiming this that and the other annoys me..because i have Asthma, i have had twice in my life, i “grew out of it” when i was around 3-6 and now i’ve been diagnosed again (3 years ago) – i’m much like everyone else on this form, i have asthma and have to take my inhalors regularly everyday or am subject to fits of breathlessness, attacks, tightness and just, the general unpleasantries that go along with Asthma. I take them walking too and from my work – literally across the road. I take them at work at least twice a day, i do attend my asthma clinics at my local practise, i have attended hospital recently for it, but luckily never been severe enough to be admitted.

    Now, i’ve just put in my first claim for DLA – and i know already from what i’ve read i’m gonna get knocked back..i mean..it really is like flying a red rag to a bull with me. There are so many people that ride the benefit system and flaunt it, and here we all are, generally ill and requiring help financially to cope with the genuine cost of living for us Asthma sufferers.

    Now, Ron, my question too you is, as you have my email address, can you give me a few pointers so’s i can get what i truly deserve from the state? My asthma is generally kept well under control, but with regular visits to my asthma clinic, and taking my inhalors – without this..as you all know, asthma is so unpredictable and fierce. But the up-keep of inhalors, the money involved anything financially would be an incredible relief.

    I wish this state wasn’t so up it’s own arse and changed the way benefits could be claimed, but i will hold out for flying pigs before i see the day. ¬_¬

    • Hmm… The best advice I can give is in this post – I don’t get involved personally with anybody. Partly because what’s written here may benefit others – which is the point of this blog – and partly well, because I just don’t.

      In assessing your DLA claim, the severity that you claim for your illness will be weighed against your medication. If your meds are, in their opinion, appropriate, that’s a plus. If they consider your meds are inadequate for the claimed severity, that a big minus. If your meds look right, then you’ll probably be summoned for a medical. If so, be nice to them – hostility will cost you money.

      I doubt GP asthma clinics count for anything – other than ramping up the practice funding. Ditto the annual spirometry check they nag me into having – it’s sure as hell not for my benefit. Hospital clinics, on the other hand are both more useful and are taken into account for DLA – as long as the consultant supports your claim. That applies to your GP too. clinic or not. And by supporting your claim I mean willing to go to bat for you, and tell the DWP, unequivocally, that your illness is sufficiently disabling to warrant a DLA award. As they, too, will know your asthma is well-controlled, I can’t see that happening.

      Ron.

  20. Apologies for getting personal, i certainly did not mean to offend, anything but.

    So, what your saying, because i can control my asthma on most occassions by using both steriod and non-steriod inhalors before i walk, run, get up, go out, come in etc etc..i won’t get dla? I do struggle at work and i work in an office, i struggle at home, i have regular sleep disturbance, i go to the gym three to four times a week with friends, and i can’t do classes with them simply because i can’t breath!..it’s embarrassing, and it is crippling..i just..hmm..i’m going to try and not get passionate or personal about the issue, i am young myself, and i find the cost of my medication somewhat staggering. I think, a fiver here, a tenner there..as you said it’s something like £1,200pa and i would find any financial help at all beneficial, but i can’t even get that and i pay my taxes to keep people who are simply crippled with laziness in check. I’m sorry if i seem abrupt, or rude, i most certainly do not mean to offend, so apologies again, your advice – whatever it may be – is much appreciated :)

    • Sorry Claire – that slipped by me somehow.

      There’s one thing I have to say, though – what other people are getting or not getting is entirely irrelevant, and whether they deserve it or not (and how can you possibly know that – not all disability is perceptible to an onlooker; mine, for example), it in no way affects your entitlement – or otherwise – to DLA. Don’t ever be tempted to go down that route when talking to DWP staff – apart from anything else it insults them by suggesting that they’re incompetent, because they award DLA to people who don’t deserve it. As I’ve said in several posts, DLA fraud has been proven to be at a very low level. There will always be some fraud, no system is perfect, but it’s at a vastly lower level than the Daily Mail would have you believe.

      Attitude will affect your claim (sorry to keep banging on about this, but I can’t help feeling it’s a problem). You’re dealing with the lowest-paid echelons of the civil service, ordinary people doing a deeply crappy job, so if you’re antagonistic towards them, it won’t reflect favourably on your claim. That shouldn’t be the case, but they’re only human – putting the file of someone who’s given them a hard time at the bottom of the pile is understandable.

      There’s not a lot I can add to what I said previously – be honest when filling in the form (regardless of what you may think other people do; lies will nearly always drop you in the mire); make sure your doctors, all of them, but especially your GP, will support your claim (if they won’t, there’s no point); ensure that your meds are appropriate for the claimed severity of your illness (they check). Personally, I think that’s unfair – people can be under-medicated because they have a rubbish GP (they do exist) – but that’s how it is.

      Re the cost of meds – have you thought of a pre-payment certificate? It’s a huge saving.

      Other than that, I’m at a loss…

      Ron.

  21. Well hi guys and girls!!!
    just to let you all know, i got refused even after my specialist presented a full report back up the reasons why she feels i should get DLA.
    I wasn’t going to do it but my wife has talked me into going to tribunal now.
    just had date through this morning, i am going to try and get them to understand that Asthmatics should be given the benefit too.
    Wish me luck
    Cheers
    Shaine

    • Hi Shaine,

      Did your GP support your claim, too? Bad news if not – that’s essential, and probably carries more weight than a consultant’s report*. And do your meds match the severity of your asthma – they do take meds into account.

      *A GP sees you a lot more than a consultant – in theory at least – and should know you far better, so a letter of support from a GP is absolutely essential.

      But yes, appealing is a must – many claims that are initially rejected are reversed on appeal – just make sure you have all your ducks in a row, plus additional letters of support from GP and consultant. The tribunal is supposed to assess you without prior knowledge (and how they do that I’m buggered if I know), so the letters are vital, as they won’t have seen anything from the original claim.

      Good luck.

      Ron.

  22. I have bronchial asthma, I have for years, and yes it can be restrictive but with the daily regime of inhalers I can hold the beast at bay until I get a chest infection then the beast takes over, I don`t understand how you can get either aspects of DLA for asthma alone. The things that restrict me is my arthritis I would say. The only thing it can do is restrict the ability to carry out normal things like running or higher energy demands. Brenden Foster a well know athlete in the 80/90`s is asthmatic-he could run like the wind. I haven`t met any asthmatic who cant walk or look after them selves. It doesn`t give as, far as I know pain in the legs or back. Combined with other respiratory conditions like emphasaemia (sp) or heart disease then yes that would severly restrict your ability to do things. Nothing on the forms seem to ask “how well can you breath” maybe it should then it would make things a lot much clearer. I am seriously thinking about claiming help for the care component but don`t want to rock the boat and lose what I have got. What can you put on the form to claim DLA if you have just asthma-I am intrigued. I don`t mean to offend anyone.

    • The mobility component of DLA is based on how well – or otherwise – you can walk , without pain

      Yes, it’s true they don’t ask how well you can breathe, because that’s not what they’re assessing. The DLA form says:-

      How far can you normally walk (including any short stops), before you feel severe discomfort?
      and
      How long, on average, would it take you to walk this far?

      So, you see, it does allow for breathing impairment even though it doesn’t specifically mention it by name (listing every possible cause of impaired walking ability simply isn’t feasible). And how well you can breathe is often subjective – one person’s inconvenience can be another’s major crisis – so as a question on which to base a DLA assessment it would never work.

      I’m not sure about this sentence “The only thing it can do is restrict the ability to carry out normal things like running or higher energy demands.” Are you referring to yourself, or is that your perception of asthma? If the former, then it’s highly unlikely that a DLA claim would succeed, if the latter, then you’re about as wrong as it’s possible to be.

      The care component is based on the care you feel you need – you don’t have to be actually getting the care. However, the risk of losing an existing award by reapplying in the hope of getting more is all too real these days. Your call, I’m afraid.

      Ron.

  23. Hi Ron ,
    I have a 17yr old daughter who has asthma,
    shes in a placement with her 6 form at school but is off because of illness caused by the asthma more than shes in school.
    How do i get help and would i as i was you can get DLA for asthmatics but it does depend on serverity, in which case im not to sure , shes been in hospital , on nebs and steroids in the passed , but just seems in the last 4/5 months thing are getting worse .
    Im now worried that she will loose her placement and the last year of schooling along with her exams , what can be done as she will not be able to get benefits untill shes 18yrs , and theres no way she could hold down a job in her state, she gets so chesty , breathless and coughs constantly , i dont think she would be in a job for long anyway shes forever ill.
    What do you think??
    Kind regards,
    Ellie.

    • Hi Ellie,

      Sorry, this slipped though the net – I’m ill myself and sometimes comments get missed. As I said to Kate, previously, I’m pretty much done for, so I’ll get back to you tomorrow.

      Ron.

    • Hi Ellie,

      Your daughter can certainly apply for DLA. There’s a link to download a form on this page, as well as a little advice about claiming http://ronsrants.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/claiming-dla-and-esa-some-tips/ DLA mobility is based very much very much on walking ability

      Possibly the simplest option is to use the Contact us link (bottom of the page), and explain your situation. There is help available, it’s just a matter of accessing it, but that’s something of which I have no first-hand knowledge, I’m afraid..

      Ron.

  24. Ron,

    Im at a total loss and was hoping you might be able to offer some guidance.

    I myself do not suffer from asthma,although my son does. My son had been in and out of hospital since birth with breathing difficlties.I was told that even though his father was a severe asthmatic and my son was being treated as one they could not confirm it until he was around 2yrs.

    I am a single parent and whilst my sons condition can be controlled against dust mites/allergies etc,a main factor with my son is the weather which obviously cannot be controlled. The financial costs,even though i do not have to pay prescriptions for him at the moment are totally crippling me. The slightest dampness effects my sons asthma drastically and i seem to just get shoved from pillar to post without any conclusion. I do not drive,i can’t afford to.Walking my son to school when it rains or when it has been usually means that he will be absent from school within the next week.The school isn’t that far and is on a bus route,although waiting outside in the damp weather is no good and even the cost of that has a serious effect as i am currently claiming income support.

    My son is now 5yrs old and i have been unable to hold down a job due to his condition,the last time he was absent from school was nearly 4weeks due to his asthma.

    I have asked and asked at my local benefit office regarding help with school travel,hospital visits,heating allowances etc,funding for equipment to control dust mites and humidifiers etc and i don’t seem to qualify for anything to help him. I don’t recieve any financial help from my sons father and im totally at my wits end with the financial strain,and constantly worry over how much time my son misses from school.

    My doctor suggested a nebuliser at home and although the medication would be free as my son is under 16yrs,i would have to pay for the tank myself……i was told to claim for this on a budgeting loan which i would have to pay back each week……i was told it wasn’t a necessatiy as this treatment was available at the hospital etc……..im unsure how to keep finding the £12 cab fare each time it rains though which they don’t seem to listen to or that im now in debt with every utility bill and can’t sfford the payments any longer.

    Any advice from yourself or any of the other readers that may have knowledge or experience of a similar situation would be greatly appreciated.

    Kate

    • Hi Kate,

      A tad out of my league, but let’s see.

      A nebuliser – this is mine http://ronsrants.wordpress.com/2009/07/26/my-nebuliser/ It can run on a rechargeable battery, for use away from home, or mains, and is reasonably light to carry. Works very well, too. The nebules are available on prescription. If you can’t afford one, many hospital OP departments have a loan system – talk to your GP or your son’s consultant. Social Services, too. I’m sure there’ll be some way of getting a freebie. And it’s amazing how far you can stretch the loan of a machine by forgetting to return it!

      A suggestion, write to your local paper (send it to the New Editor), detailing all your problems – publicity never hurts and you may find local charities chipping in, or people, perhaps, with a nebuliser that’s no longer used

      At 5 your son is eligible for DLA. There’s some advice on this page http://ronsrants.wordpress.com/2009/07/07/claiming-dla-and-esa-some-tips/ as well as a link to download a form (adult’s and children’s are on the same page, so be sure to get the right one). Getting advice from Asthma UK can’t hurt, either http://www.asthma.org.uk/ as what I know about DLA for kids is absolutely nothing, I’m afraid.

      As you’re unable to work because you’re caring for your son, you should look at Carer’s Allowance http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/CaringForSomeone/MoneyMatters/DG_10012522

      There is funding for disabled pupils – pays for taxis, help at school, etc. I don’t have any information to hand at present, but I’ll see what I can find. The big problem is going to be what age it kicks in.

      Regarding your son and the weather (been there myself when I was young), there’s a very good chance he’ll grow out of that aspect sooner or later (I did), but it’s a mistake to try and over-protect him. That was normal when I was a child, and it was the wrong thing to do. As long as he’s dressed appropriately for the conditions (childrens’ waterproofs and cold-weather gear from an outdoors specialist is the most cost-effective way of keeping him warm and dry, and no more expensive than normal – I’ll see if I can find an appropriate link for kit that won’t break the bank – and if you’ve read much of my blog, you’ll know that’s the sort of kit I wear; it really is the best and cheapest way of staying warm and dry), being out in the rain occasionally really won’t harm him in the long term (getting seriously chilled will; it doesn’t cause colds, as previous generations thought, but it can leave you susceptible.

      And at 5, missing the occasional day or two, even on a regular basis isn’t that critical, and at five, home schooling can give him the basics as well as school can – you should be able to get information locally.. The thing is that absence from school may well be a feature of his life – I lost about a third of my schooling overall, and although medication has improved since I was young, it’ll still happen. There’s really not a lot to be done, and no point either of you beating yourselves up if it comes to that.

      i was told to claim for this on a budgeting loan which i would have to pay back each week……i was told it wasn’t a necessatiy as this treatment was available at the hospital etc

      Who told you that rubbish? Nebuliser treatment is provided for IN-patients, not out-patients – nobody can go running off to hospital when they need a nebuliser, the suggestion is insane. I think, as a priority, either your son’s consultant or GP needs to refer his/your case to social services. You’re clearly not coping, and they should be able to help – you need a social worker, who will have access to information that you don’t..

      And on that note, I’m going to have to wind this up for now – I’m flagging badly. I’ll come back to it tomorrow.

      Oh, one last thing – if your son manages to get the higher mobility rate of DLA, you’ll have the choice of putting it into the household budget which, in your situation, may be best, but if you can afford to, you can put it into a Motability car. If you can’t drive they may well provide lessons – they did for me, I was a biker and needed a car licence to come in out of the wet.

      Something to think about, anyway.

      There’s a way, I think, to get your taxi fare refunded – talk to your local hospital’s PAL service. The other option is to tell the consultant that you simply can’t afford it (or your GP, depending on how it works in your area), and the only way you and your son can attend is if they provide transport. I see no reason why they wouldn’t do that.

      Ron.

  25. Hi again Kate,

    Disabled children can get help, and the starting point is here http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/

    Possibly the simplest option is to use the Contact us link (bottom of the page), and explain your situation. There is help available, it’s just a matter of accessing it, but that’s something of which I have no first-hand knowledge, I’m afraid.

    Ron.

  26. Hi Ron,

    Thank you so much for your help.I’ve already got the mentioned forms this morning and contacted an organisation called DIAL who help with such forms.

    Fingers crossed,and thank you again……there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel after all!

    Kate

  27. Hi Ron,

    I am wondering if you could help at all and give me some advice.
    My mother has Rheumatoid Arthritis which she has had for 18 years. She already receives higher rate Mobility componant and lower rate care componant and has a mobility car through the scheme. She has been receiving DLA for approximately 7 years.
    RA is a degenerative disease for which there is no cure and she has got to a stage now where she is needing more and more care. She wants to apply for the higher care rate but is scared that the car will be taken from her.
    Is there anything that you can suggest?

    Many thanks

    Lee Turney

    • People have lost higher mobility when getting higher care – the logic being that if you need higher care you’re not going anywhere. Completely ignoring the fact that someone could drive you. It’s a toss-up, I’m afraid.

  28. hi i currently get dla high rate mobility low rate care my condition has got worse over the last year or so i want to claim for a higher rate care component but am scared i will loose the lot what would you advise
    thanks marilyn

    • Hi Marilyn,

      The risk of losing what you already have is all too real, and some of the decisions about that that have been posted here are quite insane. There seems to be absolutely no logic to them. I get the same as you, and have put off trying to get middle care for years because of the risk of losing what I have.

      There’s no easy answer, I’m afraid.

      Ron.

  29. hi my wife has been getting dla for 6 years now owing to her severe asthma she takes blackouts as well but she has been struck off dla saying that because she got a chair lift and a walk in shower she does not need as much help now we appealed saying she now has copd,ibs,brittle bone disease,she also fell 2 years ago after taking an attack and snapped her leg in two she now has 9 pins and 2 plates in her leg she cant lift anything heavy because off the pains in her hands she is constantly taking steroids because off her breathing problems have we got any hope with a tribunal a very worried john

  30. hi ron on a further note my wife was getting high rate mobility low rate care until a year and a half ago when i wrote to dla to see if they could re assess my wifes care component and they put her up to high care along with her high rate mobility

  31. Hi ron
    I have just been turned down for dla. i have asthma and ibs.
    How long do i have to wait before i can make another claim.

  32. Im 16, have had astma all my life, has gotten alot worse the older i get. ive recently been put on the best inhaler on the market(u cant get much better, well thats what the doctor says)the inhaler isnt doing anything for me, my doctor said if it doesnt help i have to see a specialist..my astma effects my everyday life..im a big girl. i could be skinnier though i could obviously be bigger, i cant walk 5 mins without wheezing and having to sit down, its a nightmare having to walk anywhere, and if i have to rush i get wheezy to. i cant breathe out of my nose properly, so when i get wheezy its very hard to breathe. the two holes in ur nose, one of mine is smaller than the other, i just said two holes as i dont know the proper names for them. ive also got excema also though it not as bad as it was as a child. my mum used to have to bandage me from head to toe basically as i was so bad. so my skin is very wrinkly because of this. im a size 12, nearly 5 foot. have been this height for over a year now, i think due to all the sterioids(inhalers)ive used over the years its stopped my growth now. i cant do exercise as i get wheezy and sick. So having astma is a nightmare, ive put on alot of weight and i get do exercise due to astma…could i get dla?

    • Hi Jade,

      I know exactly how you feel – I’ve had asthma since I was two.

      Firstly, the best inhaler on the market is Ventolin (Salbutamol). It’s the gold-standard inhaler, and used in hospitals for spirometry testing.

      Right, then. You can certainly apply for DLA, but whether you’ll be successful is anybody’s guess, as it’s getting increasingly difficult to claim. Claim anyway, and if you get refused, appeal – a lot of refusals are reversed on appeal.

      As for your nostrils – the “holes” in your nose – being different sizes isn’t that unusual – mine are. The blocked nose problem is easy to treat too. You Can get Otrivine Nasal Spray from the chemist, or the supermarket (not drops – they’re a nuisance to use and both boxes are the same colour, so take care). Works for me (as, in fact did a change of address – in 1985 I moved from Liverpool to Wirral, and my health improved dramatically), something to bear in mind for the future, maybe.

      Steroids, sadly, can screw you up, even the inhalers. Taking Beclometasone (the standard inhaled steroid), at high levels – I take 500mcg 4 times a day (that’s 2 puffs of the red inhaler), and at that level you get all the systemic side effects you get with oral steroids – and it’s scary how many GPs don’t know that. If you’re not already, you should be carrying a steroid card (get one from wherever you get your meds) And steroids do pile weight on – I’m 50% overweight, due entirely to steroids. I have just one small meal a day – the weight should fall away, but it doesn’t – steroid weight can be hard to shift. I’m not telling you that to depress you, just to try and save you getting into dangerous diets and making your health worse.

      As for your height, how much you grow depends on genetics. My paternal grandmother was very small, though my grandfather was about 6′ 4″, and my maternal grandfather was about average for his time (short by today’s standards). Guess whose genes I got! You may not make your full height until 18 or 20, so I wouldn’t worry just yet, but maybe talk to your doctor about it if you’re worried, as you could be right – it’s just a tad early to tell for sure.

      It sounds, too, as if you should have a nebuliser (a machine that delivers high doses of Salbutamol/Ventolin). Talk to your doc, and if he’s willing to prescribe nebules, and you can’t afford a nebuliser (get back to me if you do need one – they can be horribly expensive, but they needn’t be), most hospitals will loan you one.

      From what you’ve told me, you need referrals to a dermatologist, for your skin problem; a physiotherapist for advice on exercising without provoking a crisis, and, if you haven’t had one, a referral to the Pulmonary Function Laboratory – you might get better meds out of it – I did.

      Oh, and you know those plasters they sell for people who snore, to hold their nostrils open? Well those, along with the nasal spray, above, will help you sleep better.

      These are the drugs I’m taking http://ronsrants.wordpress.com/2008/06/06/drugs-for-copd/ It says COPD, but they’re the same as when it was just asthma. They work very well for me, but there are wide variations in asthma, and it sounds as if your is worse than mine. Still, it gives you an indication of what’s available.

      And the best of luck with DLA!

      Ron.

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