Q.I suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis and have care and mobility issues, I made and application for DLA (Disability Living Allowance) and I have been turned down, what are my options? I really feel I am entitled it to and I have my GP support.
A. You can dispute a decision on any ground within one month of the date of notification (extended by 14 days if written reasons are available and have been requested) it may then be revised by a decision maker.
The decision maker may require further information or evidence when considering whether to revise a decision. You will be given 14 days to provide this. You should request a longer period if you need to obtain the information.
If you do not provide the details within the time allowed, the decision will be made on the basis of your original disputed application. If a decision is revised, the revised decision will usually take effect from the date of the original decision and you will be entitled to any arrears which may arise.
If you are still disallowed you can appeal the decision within one month of the review decision and CAB can help draft your appeal letter asking for an oral hearing or paper hearing. This means your appeal will be heard by The Appeals Service. The members of the tribunal are independent of the Department for Social Development. Appeals are organised by HM Courts and Tribunals Service.
The appeal may be considered on the documentation alone (a paper hearing), or in person where the parties and/or their representatives have the opportunity to put their cases and respond to questions from the tribunal (an oral hearing). You must choose an oral hearing or a paper hearing. If you do not inform the clerk to the tribunal of your choice, the appeal may be struck out.
It is advisable to seek representation as early as possible, the representative will go through the papers and determine the merits of the case and if appropriate attend the hearing with you.
The overriding objective of the tribunal procedure rules is to enable The Appeals Service to deal with cases fairly and justly avoiding any unnecessary formality and seeking flexibility in the proceedings, avoiding delay, so far as this is compatible with all the issues concerned.
My advice is to seek help at the earliest point and subsequent representation at the appeal hearing.
Get free, confidential and independent advice from your nearest Citizens Advice Bureau at www.citizensadvice.co.uk or for further information go to www.adviceguide.org.uk.