14 June 2007
A Benefits and Work member has received a DLA renewal form which is just 4 pages long.
It appears that the form is currently being piloted by the DWP as an alternative the current full-length claim pack for repeat claims.
Our member explains that the first page of the new form gives details of the existing DLA award, including the rates and the grounds on which the award was made.
The second page asks the claimant to choose whether they:
do not want to claim again;
do want to claim again and there have been no changes in their circumstances;
do want to claim again but there have been changes in their circumstances.
The next page gives the claimant the opportunity to explain any changes in their condition or circumstances and the final page contains a consent to allow the DWP to contact the claimant's GP and a declaration that the information is true.
We understand that claimants are given a choice as to whether to complete the pilot pack or a standard renewal form. Where a claimant has a straightforward health condition, such as arthritis, and can be certain of the full support of a GP with a reasonable knowledge of DLA qualifying criteria, then the new form may be a good option.
But for claimants with mental health conditions such as depression or anxiety and those with 'invisible' health conditions such as fibromyalgia or ME/CFS, we would urge caution. Because the claimant is asked to give so little detail about how their condition affects them, a brief and unhelpful factual medical report from a GP or other health professional could cause them to lose their award entirely.
Benefits and Work would be very pleased to hear from anyone else who has received one of these forms.