Tips for claiming DLA

Guidelines gleaned from a meeting with the DLA Advisory Board

The following may help people with Behçet’s disease when applying for Disability Living Allowance:

  1. Tell the truth. Do not be tempted to exaggerate or put a brave face on your symptoms.
  2. Explain the variability of the disease and symptoms. Describe your symptoms and the associated difficulties, both on good days and during flares.
  3. Keep a diary. Explain how many flares you have experienced in the previous 3?6 months and the duration of each.
  4. The DLA decision makers will write to your GP for information about your condition. If your medical care is provided by a consultant rather than your GP, write this on the form and ask for them to contact your consultant.
  5. Make an appointment with your care provider before completing your form. Talk through the difficulties you are experiencing and why you are applying for DLA, so that when they receive the form they will have up-to-date information. Remember that your medical carer tends to focus on the treatment of your symptoms. They may see you regularly, but may not be fully aware of whether you find it difficult to get out of bed or cook a meal for yourself because of your symptoms ? so make them aware.
  6. Be honest about depression and emotional disorders. For the DLA to take these into account, you will need to either be taking medication for depression or have been referred to a professional in mental health.
  7. Remember that DLA is not about your ability to work but about your ability to care for yourself and your mobility as a result of your illness. Items that seem to fit this category and that will be common among people with Behçet’s disease include:
  • Lack of motivation to get out of bed due to fatigue or headaches
  • Lack of ability to get out of bed unaided due to joint problems or neurological problems
  • Lack of motivation to wash and dress because of fatigue and feelings of helplessness
  • Lack of ability to wash and dress because of joint problems, ulcers or neurological problems
  • Inability to eat (or difficulty eating) due to mouth ulcers or need to have all food blended
  • Inability to eat (or difficulty eating) due to gut involvement in Behçet’s disease
  • Inability to cook a meal due to fatigue and/or lack of motivation
  • Inability to cook because you cannot remember how to follow instructions due to neurological problems
  • Inability to cook because of joint problems or eye involvement
  • Inability to go out unaided because of anxiety through feelings of isolation or eye involvement
  • Inability to walk unaided over long or short distances due to joint problems or neurological problems
  • Inability to brush your teeth due to mouth ulcers.