26 October 2007
Stopping a claimant's DLA on the grounds that they have found a job and 'the work they do is incompatible with the entitlement conditions for DLA' is 'unacceptable' DLA decision Makers have been warned in a confidential bulletin from their bosses.
The document, copies of which can be downloaded by Benefits and Work members, may be of value to anyone challenging a decision to stop their DLA in similar circumstances.
The dressing down, in the August edition Decision Makers Exchange, warns that even if there has been a Fraud Investigation Service report on a claimant, it must relate to the criteria for getting DLA if it is to be used as grounds for stopping their benefit.
The bulletin reminds decision makers that, for example, just because a claimant works as a lorry driver and has to get in and out of their cab or works on a fruit and veg stall and has to stand to serve customers, this does not mean their higher rate mobility should be stopped. Evidence will still be needed to show how far the claimant can walk before severe discomfort and how they walk in terms of balance, gait, etc. Decision makers are told that:
"Simply getting in and out of a cab, standing to serve customers etc is not a test of walking ability."
Staff are also told to bear in mind that they must show how the claimant's condition is over time and that the activity is not only undertaken on a good day or after pain relieving medication has been taken.
It is a sad indictment of the current standard of decision making that such a reminder needs to be issued, especially at a time when the government is turning up the pressure on disabled people to find work. However, as claimants and advice workers around the country know, it is far from uncommon for claimants to discover that undertaking work of any kind can lead to their DLA award being reduced or removed. Copies of this article may be of assistance when challenging, or even attempting to forestall, any such decision.
Members can download Decision Makers Exchanges Issue 78, August 2007 which contains the full article on 'Cases referred from operational Intelligence Unit re DLA and work'.