Questions about DLA and emphysema…

A question about claiming DLA, followed by one about DLA and emphysema/COPD.

From my search engine section comes this gem “What illness do you need to get DLA?” For me, that says, “What illness can I claim to have, to fiddle DLA?”. Maybe I’m just cynical (yep), and it’s just a badly phrased question, but surely anyone who actually was ill would be asking “Will (whatever), qualify me for DLA?” The answer, of course, being no.

I’ve covered this before, but maybe it’s timely to say it again – there is no such thing as an illness that will, of itself, qualify you for DLA. OK?

DLA is little to do with what’s wrong with you, and everything to do with how disabled you are by whatever illness you happen to have. Though, of course, they do want to know what you have, how severely, and what you’re taking for it.

There’s another item that’s cropped up several times “DLA appeal and emphysema”.

I confess myself baffled that anyone would submit a claim based on emphysema – and that probably explains why it’s gone to appeal – because emphysema never exists in isolation.

Emphysema exists as part of COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). In fact, it is the defining condition for a diagnosis of COPD.

So, if you have emphysema, you also have the condition that caused you to have emphysema (in my case, bronchiectasis), maybe plus any associated conditions (again in my case, asthma), the package as a whole making up COPD.

If follows, therefore, that any benefit claims should be for COPD, not simply one of its component parts. That’s still no guarantee it won’t wind up at appeal, but it’s less likely in my view.

2 thoughts on “Questions about DLA and emphysema…

  1. I was diagnosed with copd 2 years ago I also have been diagnosed with osteoarthritis and walk with a stick I have been refused 3 times for dla and have worked and paid my dues for 30 years and raised 4 children at the same time and never being on benefits I am disgusted that my country lets me down and makes me angry when I read about benefit cheats when genuine cases are refused.

    • Don’t believe what you read about benefit cheats – the evidence simply isn’t there to support the claims of the Daily Mail and its like. Some years ago, a campaign was launched by the DWP to weed out frauds claiming DLA, after a year or so, having made the lives of many thousands of legitimate claimants miserable by re-assessing them, the claimed level of fraud was found not to exist, and of those few who were accused of fraud, many were overturned on appeal. There is fraud, it’s inevitable, but the level is tiny.

      Sorry, but just having an illness – or two – isn’t a guarantee you’ll get DLA. And there’s the question of whether recently-diagnosed COPD would be considered serious enough to be disabling. COPD is progressive and incurable, but – especially in its early stages – it is very manageable. In fact, getting the right meds is vital, DLA or not. This is what I take https://ronsrants.wordpress.com/2008/06/06/drugs-for-copd/ That’s not to say you’ll need the same level of medication – you won’t, not at the stage you’re at – but it’s a good indication of what’s available.

      DLA is based purely on the inability to walk any meaningful distance and if you don’t meet that criterion, you don’t get DLA For example, I’ve walked with a stick since the age of 32, because of osteo arthritis in my left hip – it just wouldn’t have got me DLA though, even though I was having physio twice a week for 3 years.

      Despite what you might read in the papers, you do have to prove your disability to get DLA. OA is painful, that’s a given, but it isn’t necessarily disabling, and it can be amenable to analgesia and anti-inflammatories, something the DLA people will have looked at in your case. The same with COPD, which is eminently treatable – see this post https://ronsrants.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/copd-and-nothing-but-copd/ .

      These days they take medication into account for DLA claims, and if they feel you are under-medicated for the severity of disability claimed, you won’t get it. Personally, I feel that’s wrong, as some doctors are very tight-fisted when it comes to medication, but it’s a fact, and we’re stuck with it. If you’re claiming DLA you really need to ensure you’re adequately medicated first.

      To be refused 3 times suggests that your doctor may not be supporting your claim, because s/he doesn’t think it’s justified. Same for any consultants. That’s something you need to look into, because without medical support for any future claim, it’ll fail. Changing GP in the hope of getting support is unlikely to work.

      A thought about COPD: if it’s smoking related and you – or anyone else – continues to smoke, a DLA claim is unlikely to be looked at sympathetically. And if you do smoke, it’s impossible to hide the fact.

      One last thought – when you were turned down 3 times, did you go right through the appeal process each time? If not, you should have done, as many claims which are initially refused are granted on appeal.

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