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Patient Booklet

 

Welfare Benefits

If you are unable to get help from your Citizen's Advice please contact the FMA UK Benefits Helpline. If you contact your local council, they may be able to make you aware of other benefits advice services available in your area. 

Disability Living Allowance (DLA) 

As from June 2013 no new claims have been accepted or assesed by the DWP .Since October 2013 all working age DLA claimants reporting a change in circumstances; renewal claims and young people turning 16, have been reassessed under Personal Independence Payment (PIP) that has been rolled out nationwide.

Between October 2015 and 2018 all the remaining eligible claimants in receipt of a DLA awared will be invited to make a claim for PIP. Indefinite/fixed term awards will be selected randomly to apply for PIP. Even if you have an indefinite claim for DLA and you did not turn 65 before 8/4/2013 you will be invited to apply for PIP. 

Personal Independence Payment (PIP)

There are 2 components to PIP - Mobility and Daily Living. The mobility component has a Standard rate: 9 points and Enhanced rate: 12 points. The Daily Living component also has a Standard rate: 8 points and Enhanced rate: 12 points

Mobility component

The Activities and Descriptors for mobility are:

1. Plannung and following a journey and

2. Moving around.

For 8 points re moving around the descriptor states that you can stand and then move unaided more than 20 metres but no more than 50 metres.

For 12 points e.g. Can stand and then move more than 1 metre, but no more than 20 metres, either aided or unaided. An important word re PIP is 'repeatedly' and you have to consider whether you can do these descriptors repeatedly.

Daily Living Component

The Activities are:

1. Preparing food and drink

2. Taking nutrition

3. Managing therapy or monitoring a health condition

4. Washing and Bathing

5. Managing toilet needs or incontinence

6. Dressing and undressing

7. Communicating verbally

8. Reading and understanding signs, symbols and words

9. Engaging with other people face to face

10. Making budgeting decisions

There are a number of descriptors for each of these and it is the highest descriptor score for each activity which counts i.e. you cannot count 2 descriptors in the 1 activity.

For more information please contact the Benefits Helpline

If having read this you wish to apply for PIP please:

1. Keep a diary

2. Contact the DWP on 0800 917 2222

If elegible, a questionaire form is issued and you are invited to explain how the condition affects you in your own words along with any additional evidence. 

It is important that you get help when filing in this form and please remember to retain a copy of the form for your records. Go to or contact your Citizens Advice and get help filing in the forms. Alternatively, you can request a Benefits and Work guide from the Benefits Helpline or through the FMA UK website.

The form is then passed to a health professional who decides what happens next. If a face to face consultation is required it will be at a centre - a home visit will be an exception. 

The health professional will then complete a detailed report and send it back to the DWP decision maker. You will be notified by letter. If you are not succesful you will have to go through the reconsideration process and you will only have 1 month to get the evidence together. Failing that you can go to appeal. You again only have one month in which to appeal.

Get help from your Citizen's Advice or request the "Mandatory Reconsideration / Appeal" guide from FMA UK. Ask if someone from Citizen's Advice can represent you. If your appeal fails:

a. You can apply again.

b. You will be told that you can appeal to the commisioners. 

N.B. This can only be done on a point of law, not on the basis that you do not agree with the decision. 

Employment And Support Allowance (ESA)

To qualify for ESA you will first need to show that either you have paid enough National Insurance contributionsm are a young person or that your household income and savings are low enough. You will also need a medical certificate from your GP. 

ESA has different levels depending on your capabilities. Some special cases will immediately be allocated to the support group. Others will be assesed with a questionnaire - form ESA 50. The questions on this form are not as straightforward as they seem. This is why we advise everyone to seek help when completing it. A pack guiding you through its completion can be obtained through our benefit contact on the website or telephone (see back page). You will be given several weeks to complete this form, so use this time to test out what you can do. Also remember to note how much you can do before being in pain or becoming exhausted, as this is used in assesement. 

You may find it useful to note variations in your condition in a diary so you know how many good and bad days you have in a typical week or month. 

Once your form is completed, make a copy. If your form is mislaid it saves you filing it in again or if you are called for assesment, you can remind yourself what you put and can explain if you are worse or better than when you completed it. 

The medical assesment is initially based on this form. Do not feel you should do things that will cause you pain or exhaustion, including travelling for the medical. Let the assesor know any discomfort the assses,emt is causing even sitting or standing. 

A decision is made to allocate you to the support group, the work related activity group (WRAG) or Job Seekers Allowance (JSA).

If you think the decision is wrong, you can ask for an oral hearing and take someone with you, if you are unable to be supplied with an expert. ESA will not be paid while a claim is under consideration by the DWP for which there is no time limit. 

It is also very helpful if your doctor supports you, because if you are turned down, their support whilst you go to review or appeal will be important to you. 

If you are already in the process with either of these benefits please firstly go to your local CAB or Welfare rights for help. If you are then still having problems we will talk these through with you, but the association cannot write letters to support your case, because each person is affected differently. 

One of the most frequent comments we hear from people with fibromyalgia is "The Government does not recognise fibromyalgia." This it not true. Both the DWP and Department of Health have stated that they recognise it. 

It is often individual doctors' lack of awareness of fibromyalgia that causes difficulties. A medical pack for professionals is available and will be posted directly to them on receipt of their details. www.fmauk.org/benefits 

 

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