I’ve received a few emails in recent weeks regarding people with restricted growth having their awards removed and if I had any tips for making an appeal. Thankfully, I haven’t been through the horrible process for a number of years, though in scarily similar circumstances, as it was the time when a new government came in who were also championing cutting the country’s benefit bill, sorry, I mean ‘welfare reform’. Personally it was one of the most distressing and stressful times of my life and not one I would wish on my worst enemy.
I can feel myself getting into a rant, so back to the point. While I know every case is different and I would strongly recommend that you consult one of the professional bodies listed below, here are a few ideas that I would use if I found myself having to appeal a decision and gather supporting evidence. In no particular order:
- Contact the Restricted Growth Association who might be able to provide more information on how to fill in the forms.
- Medical support – are you under the care of a geneticist or an endocrinologist who would be willing to write a letter of support of the health, mobility and societal problems encountered? Maybe your GP maybe able to help.
- Contact your local citizen’s advice bureau for help and support
- I’m not sure how this one works, but if you feel strongly enough, you could contact your local MP.
- Last but not least, write a diary of the difficulties that you face on a daily basis. This is so that the assessors can get a snapshot of what life is like with dwarfism. Type it in Word and then it can be printed off and sent with the other bits of supporting evidence that dwarfism presents. I know it is incredibly difficult (and depressing) to focus on the negative when most of us spend our lives to be positive about the workarounds that DLA helps us have a ‘normal’ life, it’s hard, but it’s one of those things that has to be done.
- Ask your nearest and dearest what problems they see that you encounter – from being around the house to getting about and life in general. Living with dwarfism I don’t always see the problems that I accommodate for because they are part of who I am and I have my own way of dealing (or not dealing with) them. Having a few extra eyes and ears can help shed an alternative angle which maybe you can use in your supporting evidence.
While this list isn’t conclusive, as I have said above, I would first and foremost recommend that you seek professional advice and support for any applications for benefits. These are my own personal tips and should not be regarded as professional advice. Good luck!
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