Re: COMPLAINT about lack of DLA renewal decision for Bendy Girl
I am writing to complain about my renewal for Disability Living Allowance, for which my current award of High Rate Mobility and Middle Rate Care ended yesterday, 29/11/2010. Despite having returned my renewal form to you in a timely fashion by recorded delivery on 20/09/2010 and including evidence from my carer, my physiotherapist, my best friend who is a policeman and the support of my GP I am yet to receive a decision.
The lack of decision is causing me significant hardship. My other benefits particularly Income Support will be affected as I will lose the premiums I receive in place of carer’s allowance and for the more severe level of disability. Whilst I understand these will be reinstated and any payments backdated assuming there is a favourable decision about my DLA that is not much help whilst my income is so dramatically reduced for an unknown length of time, especially as I have a significant rent shortfall made up by DLA to cover the cost of having moved from an inaccessible to a more accessible flat. The loss of DLA for more than 4 weeks puts me at very high risk for becoming homeless. I also use my DLA to pay for my carer and physiotherapist as the specialist physiotherapy she provides for people with my genetic disorder is not available on the NHS. The loss of DLA and impact on other benefits, even temporarily, puts those services at risk and means my condition will deteriorate. I am unable to relocate all the dislocations I experience myself, spinal dislocations are especially difficult to relocate alone and of course have the potential to permanently damage my spinal cord. This cold weather means my high heating bills are even higher than usual as it’s so difficult to keep warm when even the slightest movement causes my joints to dislocate. The changes in rules to Blue Badges mean that I am now also without a Blue Badge as they are automatically issued for those in receipt of HRM. Without that I will have to get a letter from my GP, at possible cost to myself, but more difficult is the practicalities of being without a Blue Badge for an unknown period of time. I can ask a friend to take me to the One Stop Shop to renew my badge, but they risk a parking ticket as my blue badge has already run out!
The stress of reapplying for DLA has been immense. It took me months to fill out my form as my disability only allowed me to complete small amounts at a time. Living with an untreatable, incurable, degenerative genetic disorder is difficult enough, but having to focus on every detail of how that condition impacts adversely on my life to fill out the DLA form has caused me to develop mental health problems as a direct result.
Each staff member I have spoken to about my DLA renewal has been kind, considerate and helpful. I understand the pressure of the workload is significant and would hate to criticise people who have spent time reassuring me. However, 9 weeks to make a decision should be more than adequate, especially when so much supporting evidence has been provided. Ultimately my condition is untreatable, incurable and degenerative in nature. Continued reassessments are costly both financially and emotionally as well as pointless as for me, there is sadly no hope of recovery.
I would appreciate it if my case could be directly passed to a Decision Maker for an immediate decision. I will be contacting my MP if I do not hear from you within 14 days.