As many will know, we are in receipt of DLA for Matthew thanks to his autism spectrum disorder. He was awarded higher care, lower mobility in 2010, but for just 3 years. We got the form a few weeks ago to have his claim reviewed (https://theworldofneil.wordpress.com/2013/06/10/asd-boys-dla-claim-review-time/), and it has been a stressful time. Matthew’s DLA has made a difference in that Jane can be at home for him 24/7 if he needs it – which he often does. The prospect of losing it was a frightening one, even though we knew Matthew’s condition had worsened.
The review claim form and additional information sheets ran to over 7,000 words, included school reports, his IEP and a diagnosis report from a clinical psychologist. We’d laid bare the difficulties we face with Matthew during the day, and particularly at night where he can be a real handful. Even though with all that information and evidence there were still doubts over whether or not the claim would be renewed – considering the DWP’s recent track record of refusing seemingly legitimate claims.
We posted the form on 12th June. We then received a letter from the DWP on 20 June saying they’d received the form on 14 June (not bad, only a week to acknowledge!) – thanks to the vagaries of their mailing procedures and the post, we got the letter on 26 June. Big worry was that if they needed information from the school (we’d put in M’s reports for the last 3 years) they were running out of time, as Scottish schools broke up on 5 July. But, considering the turnaround for Daniel’s claim last year, it was on track. We then got a letter on 5 July to say they were dealing with the claim and that if they needed any more information, we’d be contacted. Cue some more stress! It was in the system! We went off on holiday ( https://theworldofneil.wordpress.com/2013/07/16/haven-heaven/) with the claim being unresolved. Still, I put it to the back of my mind – I wasn’t going to let the DWP affect our holiday!
Of course, there was a pile of mail when we got home on Monday evening. And there it was, a letter from the DWP. I tore it open, just wanting to put myself out of my misery. The letter was dated 2 July, so would have arrived the previous Monday. I quick scan on the first page told me the news I’d been waiting for. Matthew’s claim was being continued. He was still entitled to higher rate care & lower rate mobility, and it had been awarded for another 5 years from October 2013. It was a huge relief. It meant that the near future would be settled financially and that we could keep moving Matthew forward. Dealing with a disabled child is difficult, and it presents challenges that parents of neuro typical children may never consider. It has meant sacrifices for us but we’re now able to move forward.
For all their many faults, the DWP pushed the claim through quickly, although it was as a result of us being very thorough with the claim, providing them with all the information they needed. Claim is due for review in 2018, but that’s a long way away at the moment. Right now, we’re feeling positive again.