Agency (BA) get an application for DLA (Disability Living Allowance) they
can do one of three things:-
1) Accept what you say and award appropriate benefits (this never happens).
2) Assume you are not telling the truth and ask your doctor or other medical specialist for their opinion.
3) Send a doctor employed or dubiously contracted by Sema (or their subcontractor Nestor Disability Analysis (NDA)) to do a DLA medical examination and report on you.
When they choose option 3) what they are really saying is "get this sponger off
of benefits right now. Or so it would seem.
The original idea was quite a good one, an independent doctor would see you, complete a medical examination and assess your level of disability and then the BA would make a decision on that medical evidence.
The problem now is that the doctors are not independent (being employed by what is in effect the DSS, their letterheads still bear the SS logo!) and also being trained and certified by the same company, SEMA.
There is also evidence (from claimants in different parts of the UK) that there is a strategy (conspiracy some would say) of "making up" the evidence on the report form (DLA-140). For instance, many doctors write down things that they have not seen or verified. The comments of the claimant are very often misrepresented.
For these reasons we recommend that when a doctor visits you have someone independent present, i.e. not your carer or spouse, but a person like the Social Services Welfare Rights Advisor, an Occupational Therapist (OT) or some other person.
The fact that any comments you wish to make BEFORE SIGNING the form is very often not pointed out by the examining doctor. You should read very carefully all that the doctor has written about you, as it is supposed to be "in your own words". The BA will use this against you later if you are turned down and appeal, saying "you agreed by signing". We would advise especially to add your own comments about things like; conditions you have been diagnosed with by your GP or specialist, your Flowmeter readings if you are Asthmatic, your blood sugar readings if you are Diabetic, your height and weight, the amount of pain you suffer from your complaints.
Many reports conclude that the claimant can walk 100m in 2 minutes, a normal walking pace or within what is classed as normal. This they say is from their examination and clinical findings, not from direct observation of the claimant walking. A direct observation of walking on the day of the examination is not valid, so SEMA say, but what of other observations, are they also not valid because its only on that day? What we recommend is that you MAKE the doctor see you walk and note it in your part of the form, if they say its not necessary then insist that IT IS NECESSARY and note that they saw you walk with a note of the distance and time it took and the number of times you stopped as well as how much pain/discomfort it caused you.
The problem with the medical report is its only one doctors opinion, it does not take account of your opinion or your GP or specialist or anyone else for that matter. Once the BA have an adverse medical report on you you will find it difficult to win an appeal.
Oh, just one last thing. You know why the doctors like to see your hands, feet and knees? They are looking for callouses. This proves you are using your hands for work, walking about or crawling on your knees. So beware, check your footsies and hands.
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