Benefits Advisor with Shaun Clayton…

It has been clear from phone calls to the office and questions asked on social media that benefits is an area of great concern for people affected by PH, whether they’re suffering with the condition themselves or have a loved one who is.

That is the reason we have produced our new free booklet for members called ‘Signposting for Potential Benefits’.

Since early 2014 we have been developing a deeper understanding of the benefit system at PHA UK and one thing has become clear, it’s not perfect. Unfortunately though, it is what we have to work with.

One thing we would always say is, when it comes to making a claim for any benefit always seek advice, whether that is simply by surfing the internet or making calls. There are no silly questions, so please don’t be afraid to ask.

And, once you’ve made an application do not be afraid to chase it up. People sometimes worry this will affect the outcome in a bad way – it won’t and unfortunately, there can be delays, so if you feel that it is taking too long, give them a ring.

While filling in the application forms, people tell me they often feel that some of the questions don’t accurately depict what they go through on a daily basis.

The problem is that most forms are composed of simplistic questions with tick boxes answers. It’s all very black and white, and most conditions don’t live in black and white, and PH is no different. Questions like “Can you climb the stairs” with answers for you to tick ranging from ‘yes no problem’ to ‘no not at all’ don’t allow you to say ‘yes, but..’.  And the more information you can provide them with the better. In this case, we suggest  you tick the closest option but mention, maybe at the back of the form, that you have had to answer that particular question like that but a more accurate answer would be….” and then explain your situation. This way you have explained everything possible to the governing body.
Of course it is up to them whether or not to use all the information provided.

If you are initially rejected though don’t be disheartened. Statistics show that within just one governing body, ATOS, there is a 90 per cent successful appeal rate, which is startling. Nine out of 10 people appeal successfully.