ME/CFS and the new DLA points system (UK)

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by tansy, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. tansy

    tansy New Member

    New DLA 'points' system: zero for heroes - and many others

    Benefits and Work has obtained documents which show that a new points style system is being piloted for disability living allowance. The new computerised system will prevent people with a range of physical and mental health conditions from receiving awards of the care component, the mobility component or both. Astonishingly, the software even stops decision makers giving DLA care payments to war veterans, terror victims, emergency crews, victims of abuse and others whose experiences have traumatised them. Decision makers are also warned not to trust any information given by such people in their claim forms.

    As well as post traumatic stress disorder, other mental health conditions for which no award of DLA care will be made include: panic attacks; obsessive compulsive disorder; social phobia; agoraphobia and generalised anxiety disorder.

    Physical health conditions which are unlikely to get any award of DLA at all include: irritable bowel syndrome; hypertension and migraine.


    The new software, which the DWP says it has developed in partnership with American computer giant IBM, is currently being piloted in Bootle and Manchester and may be used for online claims from mid December. If the DWP are happy with the results the software is likely be rolled out nationally in 2006 and will then be used on all fresh claims and renewal claims.

    The five hundred and fifty pages of documents obtained by Benefits and Work, covering over 60 different physical and mental health conditions, contain much that may be of value to claimants and their advisors. This includes information about who the decision maker should collect evidence from; the criteria used to decide whether the condition is mild, moderate or severe and how to decide on the length of the award.

    The papers contain many other surprising revelations, such as a warning to decision makers that people with chronic fatigue syndrome who use a wheelchair can still walk 100-200 metres and are thus not eligible for higher rate mobility.


    In spite of formal requests using the Freedom of Information Act, Benefits and Work has not been provided with screenshots of the new system in action, nor have they been given a detailed description of how it works. Indeed, the DWP are now acting entirely outside the law in their attempts to prevent further details of the new system being disclosed.

    The department has already granted itself two four week extensions to consider withholding information on 'public interest' grounds and has now simply passed the whole matter over to the Department for Constitutional Affairs, giving no date by which a response will be made and no indication of which public interest grounds are being considered.

    However, Benefits and Work believes it has enough information to understand how, using the answers to a very brief series of multiple choice questions, the computer decides what award of DLA the claimant will receive, and how long for, and then produces what appears to be a very detailed and carefully reasoned decision letter.

    For the full article and to download copies of all the documents below obtained by Benefits and Work, please visit the Members area.

    Become a member
    Avoid the pitfalls, improve your chances.
    For the best possible benefits claims, renewals and appeals become a Benefits and Work site member with access to all our guides and DWP documents.

    Detailed guidance

    Anxiety Disorders
    33 pages covering: Generalised anxiety disorder; Panic disorder; Simple phobias [e.g. spider phobia]; Social phobia; Agoraphobia
    Obsessive compulsive disorder; Post traumatic stress disorder;
    Mixed anxiety and depressive disorder; Anxiety disorder associated with other conditions e.g. physical illness, substance abuse, etc.

    Back pain
    66 pages covering: Simple backache; Spondylosis;
    Lumbar spondylosis or spondylitis; Chronic back pain; Osteoarthritis of spine; Lumbago; Back strain or sprain; Spasm of back; Degenerative back problem or disease; Muscular back pain; Prolapsed intervertebral disc; Prolapsed intervertebral disc with nerve entrapment (sciatica); Spinal stenosis; Spinal collapse (e.g. in osteoporosis); Tumours (cancers); Spinal infections; Ankylosing Spondylitis; Non-specific degenerative changes; Bulging intervertebral discs; Desiccated discs; Soft tissue and/or bony abnormalities.

    Depressive illnesses
    32 pages

    Ischaemic Heart Disease
    46 pages

    39 pages

    38 pages

    Chronic fatigue syndrome
    33 pages

    Generalised osteoarthritis
    56 pages

    Rheumatoid Arthritis
    59 pages

    Visual Impairment
    58 pages

    Anaemias 5 pages
    Autistic spectrum disorder in adults 4 pages
    Cardiac arrhythmias 9 pages
    Cardiomyopathy 6 pages
    Carpal tunnel syndrome 5 pages
    Chondromalacia patella 2 pages
    Claw/hammer toes 2 pages
    Chronic suppurative otitis media (middle ear disease including perforated eardrum & tinitus) 6 pages
    Dislocation 1 page
    Eczema in adults 5 pages
    Fainting 5 pages
    Fractures 3 pages
    Gallstones, cholecystitis, cholecystectomy 5 pages
    Gout (crystal induced arthritis) 3 pages
    Hiatus hernia 4 pages
    High blood pressure, or hypertension 2 pages
    Irritable bowel syndrome 3 pages
    Laryngectomy 10 pages
    Lipoma 2 pages
    Mastoiditis 4 pages
    Meningitis 5 pages
    Meniscectomy 3 pages
    Metatarsalgia 3 pages
    Migraine 4 pages
    Pelvic inflammatory disease 8 pages
    Phlebitis 5 pages
    Plantar fasciitis 1 page
    Polycythaemia 4 pages
    Prosthetic heart valves 6 pages
    Repetitive strain injury 2 pages
    Rodent ulcer (skin cancer) 3 pages
    Rupture of tendon 4 pages
    Spasmodic torticollis 5 pages
    Sprain 2 pages
    Tennis elbow/golfers elbow 2 page
    Disorders of the thyroid gland 7 pages
    Urticaria 4 pages
    Valvular heart disease 5 pages
    Writer's cramp 4 pages

  2. tansy

    tansy New Member

    A quote from the web page above.

    "The papers contain many other surprising revelations, such as a warning to decision makers that people with chronic fatigue syndrome who use a wheelchair can still walk 100-200 metres and are thus not eligible for higher rate mobility."

    In more recent years only the lower rate of mobility allowance has been awarded to many with severe PWME/CFS, and of course a worrying % have been refused both the mobility and care componants of DLA.
  3. smiffy79

    smiffy79 New Member

    thats amazing. just sit back and let the cpu do the evaluations!! yeah right and how long before it all goes tits up like the new amazing super duper system at the child support agency, under which i am still on 'old rules' may be its alphabetical?? :)

  4. Rosiebud

    Rosiebud New Member

    this is disturbing but not surprising news.

    The government are determined to hit those on DLA and Incapacity Benefit. A friend of mine who has had clinical depression for 6 years has already received her Incapacity Benefit form for back to work. She feels she has to go get a job and I know she's not capable.

    I've registered on the Benefits and Work site, I didnt even know it existed.

    You're right Smiffy, it will be just like the CSA. They have one of the biggest CSA offices in our town and they spent £4 million on a computer system that does not work.

    [This Message was Edited on 12/14/2005]
  5. Tantallon

    Tantallon New Member

    This is typical, thank God my DLA is till 2008. There are people out there who do sponge the system I'll admit, but there are far more who don't and who deserve to get help through their benefits.

    Wow, so CFS sufferers may be able to walk 100-200 metres, well if there isn't transport within that distance, then what? Do they crawl the 100-200 metres back?

    Tansy, thank you for posting this info, forewarned is forearmed as they say.

    Cheers, Sue
  6. angeldust

    angeldust New Member

    These changes are going to hit many hard, I've noticed that they are starting to review DLA payments more frequently and every time you are reassessed for Incapacity Benefit. All we need now is Mr Blair to get his wish to make IB means tested and many of us wont get a penny!

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