It’s been a difficult couple of weeks. I’m tired and moody, everything and anything seems to set me off!
There has been so much on my mind, an overload of worry that I can’t seem to shift. It’s not like I’ve had any less sleep than I usually would! Plus there has been no real big dramas (well, nothing out the ordinary that is)!
However, there is one thing I guess I can blame for my sudden decrease in mood…. The filling out of the DLA (Disability Living Allowance) form. Seriously it’s enough to make the happiest and most energetic of a person, feel depressed and lethargic! It’s a headache… A big fat headache.
I was first faced with this form back in 2008 when my son started attending CAMHS. I wasn’t sure it was right to claim it, but our doctor stated we should as Little Man was more than entitled to the benefit so why leave it to those that wasn’t! I actually cant imagine how we would now manage without it, it makes up a big part of our income.
I remember the thud when the postman shoved it through the letterbox… It hit the floor and the house shook. The form is just outrageously lengthy and anybody else who has ever needed to fill it out will know what I’m talking about! It’s just so barbaric when you have to answer the same question over and over and over again!
We were lucky as we didn’t need to appeal anything, there was no wrong decisions! Our claim went through the system accordingly and it was one battle we didn’t need to fight.
Just like in 2008 I’ve been faced with the stress of having to fill it out again! And how it hasn’t changed much at all.
Little man’s claim is up for renewal and filling out the form is something I’ve tried putting off for months. Not only do you get that classic wrist ache and dead fingers, but it’s very likely that you’ll slowly be driven insane. The frustration as you read out a question only to see that it’s the same as the one you answered 2 questions ago, only its been rephrased and categorised under a different area of care! Some of them questions you’ll need to read over and over again, just to understand it within your own head, because surly they don’t think that your child’s difficulties are that black and white! As a result you find yourself needing to use the space set out at the end of each section. You know the one… “Use this space if you wish to explain why you have given the answers you have within this section… Blah… Blah… Blah!” When your child is on the autism spectrum you find yourself filling out every single one of those boxes. Then there’s the space at the end of the form designated for “Anything else you think we should know?” plus you end up writing an extra two A4 sheets of paper with all that stuff you think they should know! Stuff you think will help your child’s claim success.
There is no possible way you can complete such a form in a day, not if you have a life anyway. You’re this child’s carer and the time required to fill in such a form just isn’t logical. This time round we have the official diagnosis. We’ve been through the statementing process and have seen a whole host of specialist. This therefore means we have acquired a good deal of paperwork, paperwork that the DLA would like you to send in with your form.
I hate paperwork and find myself requesting everything in digital form. I was then stressing at the prospect of having to print it all out to send it to them. Not only would this be disastrous for a good number of trees but would also cost me a small fortune to send. Thankfully they have allowed me to send it to them via email which makes the process much more simplistic.
The hours spent filling in the DLA form were not jolly, they highlight just how difficult life can be for your child which in itself is a difficult reality for any parent to face.
If your filling out the DLA form for the first time, I’d advise that you don’t rush into it. There are many online sites designed to help with the process and you might want to contact the national autistic society for some advice. Their online site has lots of useful information that is designed to help you fill out the form or appeal against a DLA decision.