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turned down for attendance allowance -what now?

(27 Posts)
CocktailQueen Wed 03-Sep-14 16:47:22

Posted this on Dementia but am also posting here for more traffic:

Applied a year ago for AA for MIL who's 90, lives by herself, has dementia. She has meals on wheels every day and a carer three times a week. She's physically well. Was turned down a year ago.

Social services got involved with MIL and said they would re-apply for AA. Eight months later, they haven't done it, but have lied about it. So dh did it. Got a call from DWP yesterday to say MIL has been turned down again - he was told: 'you only qualify for AA if you cannot be left on your own at all, if you need someone with you all the time'. That's not right, is it???

MIL has not done housework for 5+ years. She has not washed or bathed for years. She has not washed her clothes for 2 years. She has not cooked for a year. She does not remember to take medication. She has no idea what date it is.

Shouldn't she qualify for AA? What can we do now?? Any advice would be great.

CMOTDibbler Wed 03-Sep-14 16:56:54

Thats not right - my dad qualified for AA, and he's the carer for my mum! The AgeUK guide to AA is good. The carers centre did the form for mum, and the AgeUk outreach lady did dads. Is there anything like that in your area?

Corygal Wed 03-Sep-14 16:59:21

Get in touch with Age UK who have superb benefit advisors. To be honest, given how bad her dementia sounds, MIL probably shouldn't be left on her own that much, although you know that better than me.

Have you claimed all the other benefits MIL is probably entitled to? DLA (now called PIP) at least.

SoonToBeSix Wed 03-Sep-14 16:59:34

Yes she qualifies from what you say. Did you read the form because it sounds like your dh must have filled the form in badly.

SoonToBeSix Wed 03-Sep-14 17:00:15

You can't claim pip AA is basically pip for the elderly unless you have an existing claim.

fridayfreedom Wed 03-Sep-14 17:01:07

There is a right of appeal. Is she known to a memory team or dementia service? They may be able to help with this. I have written to support appeals and got decisions overturned for my patients.
Or maybe a carers centre or Admiral nurse could help.
You really need to be blunt and spell things out as they are on a bad day , underplaying things doesn't help.

homefromwork Wed 03-Sep-14 17:02:04

Definitely not right. I work in older adults mental health. People have to need assistance with personal care, (whether or not they actually accept that assistance!) In my area, AgeUK will help fill the forms in, as will Alzheimers society or DWP also have benefits advisors. I would recommend appealing to DWP. Usually need to have required assistance or had a diagnosis for a minimum of 6 months. Good luck.

SoonToBeSix Wed 03-Sep-14 17:04:03

Also and I don't been this offensively I would doubt how physically well a 90 year old can be. When you fill in the form do not put she does not need help with toilet needs for example. Just because she might manage on her own does not mean she wouldn't benefit from help.

3littlefrogs Wed 03-Sep-14 17:04:45

You have to apply for it on her behalf.
Don't rely on social services - it isn't their responsibility.
Everyone gets turned down the first time.
Make sure you fill in all the questions as if it was a really bad day - worst case scenario.
Don't do it on line.
Print off the forms and sit down and do them by hand.
Make sure you have all the medical evidence, information about medication, doctors appointments etc. Proof of diagnosis of dementia, proof of meals on wheels and carer's visits, anything else you can think of.
I think it is about 36 pages long - to do it properly takes at least a day. (A degree in gobbledook and officialspeak would help).
Then photocopy it before posting.
Who pays for the carers and the MOW? You may need to produce receipts.
Persevere, it is worthwhile.
If you are her carer - as in responsible for doing/organising all the things she can't do, you are entitled to a carers' assessment from social services. This is an assessment for you - not her.
Age UK are quite helpful for advice on form filling.

SoonToBeSix Wed 03-Sep-14 17:06:20

3 little frogs everyone does not get turned the first time! What utter rubbish!

3littlefrogs Wed 03-Sep-14 17:09:08

I have done these forms for 5 elderly relatives.
All of them were turned down on first application.
I was told by an experienced social worker that this was very common and just to apply again.
They all got it the second time.
I think it is important to let people know not to give up if they get turned down the first time.

VivaLeBeaver Wed 03-Sep-14 17:13:46

My gran got it and lived on her own. She needed a carer to help bath her a couple of times a week. Used the rest of the money for a gardener and taxis into town to go shopping.

My dad also got it and he could be left on his own. He was infirm and couldn't do his own shopping or cooking. But he could get washed and dressed and make a cup of coffee or a sandwich.

SmileAndNod Wed 03-Sep-14 17:15:55

We applied for this for GPs in their 90's who quite frankly shouldn't be living alone (well together but alone). They wouldn't have it that they would be eligible for anything and refused to fill in the forms for about three years so in the end we contacted Age UK.

They came out to assist in completing the form, which was successful. I do recommend using them. Especially if your relatives are anything like mine and tend to underplay their ailments / disabilities.

Needmoresleep Wed 03-Sep-14 17:31:44

I had a go on my own and then showed it to the manager at my mum's sheltered housing. Masses of edits, but she was given the allowance first time.

Small things like I had assumed that she was OK on her own at night. Because she normally is. But not always. She had woken up in the middle of the night confused and called the police. She had also pulled the cord for the all night warden. Essentially why she was paying to live somewhere with a 24 hour warden. Ditto with the TV. She is OK if she can just turn it on and off. But if someone were to fiddle with the settings she could not cope. (Its set to BBC1, but DC threaten to switch it to Channel 5.) She can run a shower, but needs someone to prompt, and ensure the water is the right temperature.

I found it difficult to be negative about her capacity. Yet when thinking about it, she was already getting help in a number of areas, simply because she does not have the capacity to do them herself.

Really get someone experienced to read through. You need to tick the right boxes, and seemingly use the right vocabulary.

AA then opens the door to Council Tax exemption, and also as a shorthand for disability. Good luck.

SoonToBeSix Wed 03-Sep-14 18:05:51

3 little frogs that was just coincidence or further info not sent in with original claims. I can categorically assure you that forms do not get nill awards the first time someone applies. I don't think it is help to give someone misinformation. The social worker however experienced does not work for the dwp and is wrong.

SoonToBeSix Wed 03-Sep-14 18:07:09

However you are right to say people shouldn't give up but that's because forms are not filled in very well/ further info needs to be sent.

SoonToBeSix Wed 03-Sep-14 18:12:13

Cocktail I have sent you a pm.

vdbfamily Wed 03-Sep-14 18:38:59

My advice when applying for AA/PIP is to describe worst case scenario. With dementia,it is very difficult and quite an art form.I would advise using the boxes to give as much info as possible.For example, people with dementia might be quite physically able to wash and dress but are unlikely to do so without prompting.They may sleep in their clothes for days and insist they are fresh.They may say they bath regularly but bath is full of dust. They may not be eating well and probably not managing their medication. You need to list all the things that are problematic and then somehow get them onto that application form. It is good advice to get some support with the application as it is all about how you word it.From what you have described they should definately be entitled. Good luck

CocktailQueen Wed 03-Sep-14 20:32:54

Thank you so much!!! This is the appeal - we originally filled the form in a year ago.

We're both educated people, printed the forms off, wrote the worst-case scenario - no dice.

DH was a bit reluctant to write about how bad his mum is wrt certain things, but he did it, and then the woman told him she wasn't entitled to it.

I rang our local Age UK but they said they couldn't help with the form!

vdbfamily -so you mean, instead of saying, MIL does not wash, you say, she sleeps in her clothes and has not bathed for xx months? Make it really specific?

Mil does not answer the phone and can't switch the tv on - though she says she can.

Yes, she's known to the council memory team and older people's social services. Her GP wrote a letter to go along with the first application.

Soontobesix - thank you. Have replied!

CMOTDibbler Wed 03-Sep-14 20:43:38

Giving specific examples is great - for my mum, dad had things like 'cmotsmum needs help with eating as she does not recognise food and will either refuse or spit it without encouragement. This has resulted in a 3 stone weight loss in 6 months before intervention'

aprilanne Wed 03-Sep-14 20:46:30

you would be better getting a medical report to put in with your appeal .it looks better coming from a medical proffesional .

vdbfamily Thu 04-Sep-14 10:27:29

Our local memory team has support workers that help with things like attendance allowance applications. Yoiu could also try Citizens Advice bureau or WRVS (now known as just RVS I think.)
I do think you have to be really specific and if it says how long does she need the help and how many times a day you have to assume a perfect world and say 30m 2x daily for washing. If there is an incontinance issue and pads don't get changed or get removed, then it is maybe 10m up to 5x daily. They are most interested in personal care(dressing/washing/toiletting/eating) and mobility so the form is designed to highlight these areas and does not easily lend itself to people with dementia.
So with dressing...whilst they might physically be able to put on a skirt they may need prompting,they may not know how long they have worn it for already,they may slleep in their day clothes,they may get up/dressed at midnight thinking it is morning.
With washing...they may be physically able to get in/out bath/shower and insist they are doing so but smell/evidence suggests it is not happening. They may need a shower board/grab-rails/carer.
Toiletting...may need pads but forget to change them or hide soiled pads or wee/leak around house,or need commode at night
Eating....are they eating? Do they have meals on wheels to ensure one hot meal a day?
Att. All. is definately not just for people who cannot be left alone.It is there to compensate for the costs of being disabled. If someone in MIL's situation had no family, she would have to pay for far more care to assist with housework/laundry/shopping/personal care etc.
Is there a reason why her carers only visit 3x per week ? Does she refuse help with daily wash/personal care? Is she self funding?
I really cannot understand why you were turned down and am disappointed that with both SS and a memory team involved,there is not more help and advice forthcoming.Hope you get someone to listen/help soon.

originalusernamefail Thu 04-Sep-14 10:31:19

My grandma was awarded AA, she lives independently! She is registered disabled due to a vestibular disorder in her ears which gives her constant vertigo type symptoms. The AA is to pay for taxis/ cleaners/ personal assistants as my gran sees fit.

CocktailQueen Thu 04-Sep-14 16:25:32

*Is there a reason why her carers only visit 3x per week ? Does she refuse help with daily wash/personal care? Is she self funding?
I really cannot understand why you were turned down and am disappointed that with both SS and a memory team involved,there is not more help and advice forthcoming. Hope you get someone to listen/help soon.*

Yes, she's self funding. Dh had to argue with her endlessly to get her to even accept carers/cleaners twice a week; we'd like them to increase their hours but MIL vvvv resistant and gets angry.

Whatever dh arranges - recently, a gardener, as her garden was totally overgrown and he hasn't got the time to do gardening when he goes to see her - she criticises: the gardener didn't do much, was cheeky and kept asking for tea - but you can't rely on what she says as she says different things to different people.

She resisted Meals on Wheels at first but now, hurrah, enjoys the meals.

The carers just do some cleaning, chat to MIL, make sure she's taken her medicine, give her juice, make a cuppa - she won't let them do anything else like wash her clothes, change her bed, wash her sad sad And since she's still in her own home they can't force her - all they can do is encourage. But she won't. It's grim.

Even if she gets AA I'm not sure what else they can do if she totally refuses to change her clothes or wash.

vdbfamily Thu 04-Sep-14 19:54:56

Is she aware enough to notice if they came more frequently? It is SO so hard with dementia,I really feel for you.Elderly people often resist help but accept it more readily when they are physically limited and know they need the help. She may eventually get a UTI or something that involves hospitalisation which is often a good time to then let someone else work on her and suggest help. Hopefully she will build a rapport with her carers and gradually let them get a bit more involved.

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