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Taking nutrition: support to abstain from alcohol 1 month 6 days ago #251302

Hi all,

I am supporting a vulnerable adult in an appeal for PIP. (I am a claimant myself)
She has a number of health issues including alcoholism. She has a significant issue with alcohol but has successfully abstained since April 2019.

This act has helped her health issues immensely but she is plagued by temptation. She needs constant supervision, monitoring and encouragement, and amongst issues like becoming reclusive, withdrawing from social situations, and voluntarily relinquishing control of her access to finances (through her own fear of being tempted of buying alcohol) she needs constant support and encouragement to abstain. Her son and husband literally tag-team her, never leaving her alone. She needs to be reminded and encouraged many times throughout the day, to resist temptation and acts such as not keeping alcohol in the house, are absolute. She refuses to leave the house through fear of relapsing, and if she feels tempted through stress, distress, anxiety or boredom, her family rally round her to support her day and night to remain 'clean'. This is exhausting and constant for her immediate family. Her husband describes that he is effectively babysitting her all day every day.

With this in mind, I am keen to know any thoughts on the following:

Of the 'Taking Nutrition' descriptor: Is it reasonable for her to be awarded points for needing supervision and support to abstain from alcohol?

Additionally:

Of the 'Making decisions about money' descriptor, is it acceptable for her to meet this criteria on the basis that she has surrendered all access to her finances through being terrified of relapsing if she has access to money? Her husband manages all aspects of their money and this arrangement seems to work well in supporting her to abstain.

I have done some research but can't seem to be able to find anything definitive?

Thanks in advance

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Taking nutrition: support to abstain from alcohol 1 month 5 days ago #251322

Hi Swerci

From what you've said, your friend has no problem with eating food, which is what the question is primarily about, and she doesn't for instance have to take liquid through a tube. I've not yet met anyone with alcoholism that has scored for this question without another underlying health condition. You can try and argue it - but I think you may struggle.

The managing finance question is easier to argue. Just be aware that they may argue that it isn't that she can't do it, but she chooses not to - so make sure you emphasize the real danger to her and her family's well being if she had any access to money.

I suggest you also read this judgment for PIP from the upper tribunal. It is a case about a claimant with chronic alcoholism and has some interesting takes on how it can affect someone's ability to fulfill the PIP criteria. Obviously each case is different - but I think there has been a habit of ignoring the wider problems of someone with a severe drinking problem.'
assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/5...PIP_3126_2016-00.pdf

BIS

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Nothing on this board constitutes legal advice - always consult a professional about specific problems

Taking nutrition: support to abstain from alcohol 1 month 5 days ago #251326

Hi Bis,

Thank you for this insight. I feel a bit miffed by it given that she is so very dependent on those around her to remain alcohol-free. I guess it's true what they say: once an addict, always an addict. And addiction it is.

I had already read that published document upon researching the issue. It splays some interesting points but something I was quite surprised at was the lack of case studies there seems to be out there regarding alcoholism and PIP. I fully appreciate that addiction/alcoholism in itself is not a qualifying factor for PIP, but it's that bit about the needs arising from the alcoholism that brings hers into relevance, Fearing relapsing has stripped her of her liberties. She only feels safe when she doesn't leave the house, and when others manage her money for her.

It's all food for thought and I am keen to hear other's take on it given the lack of literature around the matter.

Many thanks

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Taking nutrition: support to abstain from alcohol 1 month 5 days ago #251344

As with all claims, do you have a good doctor's letter/s explaining how the alcoholism affects her Activities of Daily Living and, in mental ways &/or physical, her Mobility? A good letter is very well worth paying for as it can pretty well completely win the claim. The one for our daughter was £42 inc VAT. I believe there's a template on here somewhere you can offer the doctor to use. Its timescale will need to cover when the claim went in I think.
Best wishes, Denby

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Taking nutrition: support to abstain from alcohol 1 month 2 days ago #251420

Hi Bis

Thank you for this idea. I don't think we have time to order a letter from a GP because tomorrow is the submission date by which we have to provide any new evidence, however I see no reason why I can't send a letter as her rep. I have known her for nearly 10 years and feel I have a relatively good insight. At worst, they can simply disregard it, I don't think it will do her appeal any harm?!

Thank you again

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Taking nutrition: support to abstain from alcohol 1 month 2 days ago #251426

Hi Swecri

You certainly can send a letter and the panel undertake to read every piece of evidence that is submitted - so it will certainly be looked at. It can't do any harm.

BIS

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