fluctuating conditions and DLA Forms

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fluctuating conditions and DLA Forms

Postby charter » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:05 pm

Hi,

I am applying for DLA and am unsure how to explain fluctuations in my level of pain and the sudden, unpredictable onset of fatigue.

My Condition

My levels of pain is always fluctuating with total irregularity each day. In 30 minutes I can go from being immobilized and in a state of temporary paralysis due to pain to being able to move with severe discomfort but without significant restriction. I am worried that although at some points during the day I really can not for example to get dressed, washed or make and eat a meal but at other times on that day I can go for a gentle swim which helps my pain, or visit friends. That is genuinely what I find it to be like.

Fatigue is unpredictable and comes on very suddenly which makes it difficult to manage. I can not manage enough physical activity to be able to look after myself. But I like to make time for gentle exercise or social activities because it helps manage my pain and depression. If I feel tired I have to stop what I am doing and rest and I have to pace all activities meaning they take far longer and can only be done when I feel I have enough energy.

Walking is painful and always increases my level of pain and I can never go for than a few meters without the onset of severe discomfort. However I can keep walking until the pain becomes unbearable, which some times is only a few meters and at other points in the day can be a few 100m although I am walking despite sever pain.

My Question

I have been advised to only mention my worst days but this guide [url]http://www.ukfibromyalgia.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=12521[/url on this forum advises against it. I am worried that if I am too honest I will talk myself out of getting anything, but dont want to be seen as dishonest by the DWP or a tribunal. So how should I word an explanation of my condition as to be accurate but still be entitled to benefit? I dont want to be accused of benefit fraud because at certain time I can live my life despite chronic pain most days but still need help to get by.
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Re: fluctuating conditions and DLA Forms

Postby Iceskatemum » Mon Feb 04, 2013 3:20 pm

I haven't had a response to date so don't know if the way I tackled my form was the correct way or not but instead of focusing on my worse day I stated that I had a fluctuating condition and for 5/7 days or what ever the number I could not do ....and listed the various activities I couldn't do . If it didn't fit in the small box on the form I put in the additinal information section or on a typed written note I also enclosed with the form with the question/answer appropriatley marked so it limited confusion.

Good luck
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Re: fluctuating conditions and DLA Forms

Postby AJay71 » Mon Feb 04, 2013 4:13 pm

I applied for DLA in April, had an Atos doctor visit my home in June and was awarded high mobility and low care in July, review in April 2014. All before the rheumatologist diagnosed fibromyalgia in December. But I had applied unsuccessfully 7 years previously.

All I can say is be honest, and most importantly remember that in order to be able to say you can do something, you must bear in mind if you can do it " safely, reliably and repeatedly and within a reasonable time frame".

If you consider getting up in the morning and the length of time that takes along with the help you need to wash and dress etc.... and how exhausted you feel afterwards.... you could not reasonably do it again shortly afterwards. I know we tend to try to live with this condition and make the most of our 'not so bad' days.... but in all honesty... I think our good days would be a very bad day for most ordinary people.

I would steer away from calling it a good day.... prefer instead to call them 'not so bad days'. I was lucky that the Atos doc that came out to me was quite understanding.... although he couldn't believe that after 20 years of this no one had definitively told me what was wrong!

It's a good idea to have someone there with you. It is an assessment NOT a medical, don't let them make you do anything that will hurt you either at the time or give you pain later. Just keep explaining to them how your illness affects you and your daily life. It's also a good idea to take all your medication with you in the boxes with your name on it also explain how the meds affect you, drowsy, forgetful etc.

Hope that helps for now..... can't think of anything else off the top of my head. A good site on Facebook is Atos Miracles. Loads of good info and advice on it for DLA and ESA claims / assessments and appeals.

Good Luck and do let us know how you get on.
Best wishes
Amanda xXx
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. - Goethe
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Re: fluctuating conditions and DLA Forms

Postby charter » Thu Feb 07, 2013 11:08 pm

Thankyou for your replies. I really do appreciate the help as I have little support and feel really unwell :)

I am really stuck on how to play the questions about walking,

I have read from the decision makers guidance:

61306
The test in DMG 61276 is of the person’s ability to walk out of doors without severe
discomfort, not the capacity to walk with severe discomfort1. Any walking with
severe discomfort is ignored....................

This is on the basis that firstly, walking achieved only with severe discomfort is discounted and
secondly, that appropriate attention is paid to manner, speed, distance and time1. All
factors must be viewed before the onset of severe discomfort.


I am constantly in severe pain although I can do a limited amount of reasonable activity at my own pace. So does this mean I should put I can walk 0 meters making me virtually unable yo walk although I can walk around in pain. I am worried about putting down 0 meters, when I can walk although it is painful I can sometimes go a few meters and sometimes a few 100 meters if I really want to push myself.

However far I was going to put I was thinking of writing something like the following perhaps:

"I have a physical disablement which affects the physical act of walking, and which causes severe chronic pain and severe discomfort even when not walking, any walking accomplished is despite this severe discomfort and pain."
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Re: fluctuating conditions and DLA Forms

Postby Iceskatemum » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:04 am

Hi Charter , The whole DLA things is awful and so stressful as I can testify having just finished mine last month. As a general rule I kept my answers to just what ever the question was.

e.g.

61306
The test in DMG 61276 is of the person’s ability to walk out of doors without severe
discomfort,
not the capacity to walk with severe discomfort1. Any walking with
severe discomfort is ignored....................

This is on the basis that firstly, walking achieved only with severe discomfort is discounted and
secondly, that appropriate attention is paid to manner, speed, distance and time1. All
factors must be viewed before the onset of severe discomfort.

Its like the old comprehensions you used to do at school ..... the answer is in the question . :-D

You say that you have severe discomfort at all times but that you can on occasion manage to walk at your own pace for a variable distance.I'm not an expert or a lawyer or anything but might I suggest for your response that you could possibly include some of the following information

..... that when walking you experience severe discomfort 7 /7 days. which limits the normal distance you can walk ( might say how many metre is normal before you have to stop )

...... have on a limited number of occasion due to necessity had to walk in extreme discomfort up to x meters (you could put in an approximation of how many times you have done this in x/365 or per month or per week depending on what is appropraite plus the distance walked on this occasion .....if you have walked 100m on one occasion I sure that is not seen as the norm) .

.........You could then go on an highlight how this affected you .....I was in excrutiating pain and walked at a slow pace that was determined by the pain and my general lack of mobility .I did on occasion have to stop .It wasn't at normal walking speed & if you have a limp or a change in gait that might be appropriate here.

Just an idea but you this way are concentrating the information just on the question asked rather than lead them into other areas covered by other questions.

I found great support on the benefits & works website . They have guides that you can access that can help in filling in all the benefits questionaire. There is a small charge of £20 for a year's subscription but if it helps you achieve the benefit it is money well spent.

Good luck and so sorry you have to face this alone , I hope you can get some help from some of the agencies like CAB
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