Following an unsuccessful renewal claim for Disability Living Allowance, I was completely gob smacked. I was previously allowed the Mobility part of DLA. Nothing had changed in my condition, or my circumstances. I felt scared, confused, rejected and let down.
As soon as I arrived at the Disability Advice Project the door was opened for me, and a chair offered, as if they could not do enough for me. I felt so good inside, so welcomed and so at ease.
I was introduced to a caseworker who asked what was troubling me, all of a sudden, somebody cared and understood me. We went through my whole medical history and my details were taken, forms filled in and time spent talking to me and calming me down.
After much paper work, I went to a tribunal. Thanks to DAP and all their hard work, lots of patience, and hours and hours of time, my appeal was successful and even backdated.
I would like to thank everyone for their hard work, time, patience and of course the amount of money spent on paper work, postage and all the unseen expenses such as computers, heating, petrol and stationery.
I had just been told that I had lost all of my Disability Living and Mobility Allowance (DLA). I was devastated, not so much for the financial loss (although without these benefits I couldn’t leave my house alone – I can’t use buses and couldn’t afford taxis). Having my DLA taken away made me feel like a fraud. Immediately, I knew I would appeal.
Chronic painful conditions don’t just take a physical toll. Mentally, it’s exhausting too. There is only so much we can cope with. I needed some support and that’s where the DAP came in. Within a week or so I was talking to an experienced case-worker.
The charity made the appeal process simple. All I had to do was sign a few forms giving them permission to act on my behalf, and supply a few details on doctors and hospital consultants as and when the need arose. It meant I could forget about the stress of the situation, and concentrate on getting on with my life as best I can.
The charity didn’t just deal with my DLA appeal. They also checked my application forms for Employment and Support Allowance. My claim was accepted without the need for any further fuss and all I had to do at that point, was wait for my DLA Tribunal date to arrive. When my date came through DAP arranged another meeting to go through existing paperwork, and look at new evidence that they had collected on my behalf.
Having my case-worker enter the room and face the panel with me was a great support. As I said, for me, this was more about being believed than financial gain. There was never a moment that I doubted the charity’s belief in my medical conditions and this, along with their unwavering support helped me to deal with the build-up to the Tribunal, and the event itself. I also think that having the charity behind you gives you a gravitas, a credibility, that then gives you confidence to go through the appeal process.
I won my appeal. Friends and family congratulated me, told me I had done well, when in actual fact, the Disability Advice Project had done the lion’s share of the work. I wasn’t strong enough to get through my appeal without DAP. I’m certain that I would have lost my case without them.
The DAP helped me get some freedom back. It might not sound like much, but it can be everything to a disabled person who would otherwise never be able to afford to leave their home. Without the DAP’s expertise, I could well have lost my DLA for good – along with my independence…And you really can’t put a price on that.
I have twin boys aged 16years old both with Cerebral Palsy. In June 2011 we were sent renewal packs for their DLA. The outcome was Joel remained the same, but the decision on Liam’s DLA had changed from middle rate to the lowest rate. With them saying that Liam now only needed an hour care throughout the day and night.
The Careers Centre in Pontypool, put me in touch with DAP. They were great, they agreed to take Liam’s case to the tribunal and I knew whatever the outcome would be, they would do the best for us. It was left to them to contact the various people who were involved with Liam (physiotherapist, social worker, school, and GP) for their reports which DAP forwarded on to the tribunal services.
Liam was very anxious about going to court and was starting to get worried and upset but we received a letter from the DLA to say they had changed their decision and Liam would go back to middle rate, and would no longer need to attend the tribunal. We were very happy at this outcome it was a huge relief especially for Liam.
I am writing this, as I want other people who may need help with a problem, big or small, to get in touch with DAP. They took away the stress when they agreed to help.