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TOPIC: DLA: ATOS doctor yes to mobility, DWP decision no?

DLA: ATOS doctor yes to mobility, DWP decision no? 9 years 7 months ago #19453

Hi All

Does anyone know whether getting a powered wheelchair means you don't qualify for mobility under DLA?

I had an ATOS doctor's visit last week, the doctor seemed to really understand severe ME/CFS and its attendant problems/limitations. She told me within five minutes of her arrival that I would certainly get mobility; I took that to mean only the care aspect of DLA was uncertain. Towards the end the doctor said, "How far can you walk? Hmm, about ten metres I should think", which as far as I could tell was what she then wrote on the form (I was lying down, couldn't see properly). She also said I needed a powered wheelchair because I am too weak to wheel myself in an ordinary one.

Overall the doctor was very sympathetic if no nonsense - she said I needed a lift installing (but the house is tiny so no room for that), a lifeline, a downstairs loo installing (no room for that either), a bed rail, etc etc, and was dismissive of my better days (one or two a month - the rest of the time I'm in bed or in a reclining chair doing nothing, get out of the house for two to three hours a month if I'm lucky on a good day). When I said I did have better days, she said, "yes, but you're not exactly dancing around the village are you?"

The doctor arrived 40 mins early and unfortunately the friend who was going to speak for me came 20 mins late, but I had the summary sheet for health professionals and a typical day written down, because I have memory/cognitive problems and fatigue issues with speech, and the doctor said that was fine and forged ahead taking info off my notes onto her form and asking questions at times.

I honestly thought things were going to be ok, but I have just got the decision, and I have been informed that "using appropriate aids and adaptations as required, you are not unable or virtually unable to walk". So no mobility. And issues of cognitive confusion, physical collapse, disorientation and all the rest when out needing someone with me (and the ATOS doctor said, "so you never go out alone?" and I said no), were also dismissed.

I have been awarded middle rate care on the grounds I need continual supervision throughout the day in order to prevent substantial danger to myself (falls becuase of being so weak and having balance issues), and also because I often do not eat or drink because I am too weak and exhausted to get downstairs to get food. The ATOS doctor said she thought I weighed less than seven stone - this is two and a half stone down on my normal weight and means I have lost a quarter of my body weight. She also said I had no muscle strength.

Despite accepting that I need help eating and drinking, and supervision in case of falls, burning myself etc, I have been informed by the dwp decision maker that I am able to get washed, dressed, bathed, and do everything else that the form is about. In fact I get dressed once a week if I'm lucky, (and my clothes are too big for me!) and get washed about once a week, which is so exhausting I often end up going back to bed with wet hair, have no social life, do nothing at all most of the time, can't even listen to the radio, can't answer the phone, use the computer about 20 mins a week (and will pay for this long email, but I'm so distressed about this I'm hoping someone can help). I have no life, and feel really ill almost all of the time, and the ATOS doctor got this, but the dwp thinks otherwise.

Also, despite accepting I fall often and am at serious risk and therefore need continual supervision during the day, apparently I am fine at night when needing to get to the loo, 2 or 3 times a night, despite having fallen down the stairs going past them to the bathroom and having fallen in the bathroon and cracked my head on the basin etc etc. Also apparently I don't need help with slippers, blankets, moving the duvet off me/back on when going to the loo at night (I get trapped under the duvet at times because I can't move it!)It seems I am perfectly OK at night in the DWP view even though they agree I am not during the day.??

I am so astonished at the decision. And so tired of trying to sort out benefits - it took me five months to fill in the dla form, using the guides on this site, which were great, it has taken the dwp 3 months to reach this decision, I am trying to do an income-related ESA application with a helper (luckily a much easier initial form, but needs all the financial info gathering, a month's worth of activity for me), and I am so exhausted with it all, and can hardly face having to appeal the dla. But I need the money or I will lose my house, and as I can't even feed myself properly I don't know how I@ll manage moving. The ATOS doctor understood all this, and I don't understand how the decision has gone so wrong.

Does using a powered wheelchair (if I had one) mean I don't qualify for mobility, does anyone know?

I am going to ask for my case file and the medical report, but I just don't feel I've got the energy to fight this, and yet I have to financially. I'm feeling pretty stressed by it, so any words of wisdom or experience would be much appreciated.

I'm also worried that the dwp will now put me in the work-related-activity group for esa, and I will not be able to get to the interviews, and hence will be deemed to have failed to qualify for the benefit.

apologies for such a long email (I'm a bit stressed...), but any help would really be wonderful. Hope all reading this are feeling well,

regards
Gillian

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Re:DLA: ATOS doctor yes to mobility, DWP decision 9 years 7 months ago #19457

Hi Gillian,

I cannot go into depth on your post, since we cannot give advice on individual claims as is explained in Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

What I can tell you is that the higher mobility component (HRM) of DLA is awarded to those who cannot walk at all, or those considered 'virtually unable to walk' after taking into consideration the distance they can walk without 'severe discomfort', the speed of their walking, manner of walking (e.g. limping, dragging a foot etc.) and the time taken to walk a given distance.

Legally, there is no maximum distance that would exclude a claimant from being awarded DLA HRM, but the Upper Tribunal ( formerly called Social Security Commissioners) tend to hover around the 50 to 60 metres mark.

As a person who has had MS for over 20 years, a person who needs to use a wheelchair regularly both indoors and outdoors is 'virtually unable to walk' irrespective of whether they use a manual wheelchair, an electric powered chair or a mobility scooter.

Hope this helps.

Best wishes.

Jim

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PLEASE READ THE SPOTLIGHTS AREA OF THE FORUM REGULARLY, OTHERWISE YOU MAY MISS OUT ON IMPORTANT INFORMATION. Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

Re:DLA: ATOS doctor yes to mobility, DWP decision no? 9 years 7 months ago #19465

  • Ricardo
Gillian ,

to add to Jim's words ...
From what you say,It does seem odd that you have received no mobility component whatsoever.
You do need specific advice on any possible appeal , and bear in mind the time limits as stated in the members section.
There could be advice agencies in your area that do outreach, including ..if you have someone who helps you , carers organisations who could help with this .(irrespective of receipt of carers allowance)

It might also be worth getting hold of the Local Authorities Adult Social Services department with regard both possible adaptations to your home and the Benefits issues . If you are experiencing such difficulty as described then they have a responsibility to assess and possibly assist you.

Best of luck
Rich

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Re:DLA: ATOS doctor yes to mobility, DWP decision no? 9 years 7 months ago #19476

Hi, Also with regards to mobility, read (in the DLA Guides CDLA/0217/2009). Claimant who can walk and run gets High rate mobility for incontinence. Because they have to take your overall ailments etc as a whole, And the combined affects of them. Hope this helps. Best wishes

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Re:DLA: ATOS doctor yes to mobility, DWP decision no? 9 years 7 months ago #19502

Hi Jim, Rich and Jeff,

thank you very much for your replies, it sounds encouraging.

Jim, thank you for your comment, that's reassuring to hear. My cottage is actually too small to use a wheelchair in without knocking down exterior walls, so it's not an option indoors as things stand. Not sure that should count against me though. On the plus side, I never have to walk more than a few metres, assuming I am up at all, and can mostly hang onto the furniture or walls for support as they're so close.

Rich, thanks for all your good ideas. My GP has already referred me to social services, so I am awaiting assessment.

I will try the CAB for help with the appeal, although the person who kindly came to help with the ESA form was not too clued up.

I'm hoping that the Atos doctor wrote the same on her form as she said to me directly; if so, it should hopefully be straightforward to appeal, although I won't be able to attend in person. I'm wondering if I just got a decision maker on a bad day. It's the only way I can make sense of it at the mo. Presumably the DWP's own doctor's medical opinion should be heeded by the decision maker?

Jeff, yes I actually know someone who gets higher rate mobility who is perfectly mobile but has Crohn's disease (bowel disorder).

Thanks again for your support, it's helped me feel a bit more confident and a bit less stressed about it all.

regards
Gillian

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Re:DLA: ATOS doctor yes to mobility, DWP decision no? 9 years 7 months ago #19512

Hi Gillian

I cannot understand how you feel because I don't have your illness but I have ms and epilepsy so we do have something in common - memory problems, it's maddening.

You describe everything that went on very well I am presuming it took you a while to do, recently I have been thinking about buying a voice activated digital recorder because it would be easier to record than write. I just wondered if one would be suitable for you, certainly easier to speak than write then you would have something to refer to when needed. If/when you get to see a social worker you could ask about having care worker/s ( but maybe you already have )but you may have to pay for this. Whatever you decide to do don't give up. Good luck to you.

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