Today I have received a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) regarding the universal raise of Disability Living Allowance (DLA). I receive low rate care and low rate mobility, just over £40 per week. It also reminded me that on the 26th January 2013 my DLA claim will expire! Panic time.

Not knowing when they send renewal forms out I posted the question on Twitter. A kind woman posted a reply almost immediately stating they’re sent out 6 months before expiry of claim, this then means I should get my forms no later than the end of June (around 2 months).

The fact the process will begin again soon frightens me and fills me with panic. Last time, as mentioned, I went through the application process I was literally put through the mill. I went through a lengthy battle resulting in a Tribunal. It was a 10 month battle. I had help from a solicitor specialising in welfare rights. It was thanks to Legal Aid I received this help.

This time round, however, I shall not be entitled to legal assistance. Legal Aid isn’t, as far as I am aware, available for such matters. Admittedly, yes my health has worsened since my application began plus I have a different (and far better than the last) GP surgery who are more than happy to assist me in whichever is necessary. I am also aware that my consultants various will prepare any medical reports should the DWP require them. In terms of the application forms I shall refer back to initial application forms and use some of the legal wording.

My medications have changed a lot since initial application as have my medical conditions. Take my hidradenitis suppurativa for example, this was only officially diagnosed by a specialist (was diagnosed by GP) in December 2010. This was 2 months after the appeal process had been successfully concluded at Tribunal. Because my conditions are ever changing I’ve kept the DWP informed, several times I have been told by DWP advisors I should be on a higher rate! They, however, aren’t the ones who make the decisions.

My plan is to start a diary, perhaps use this blog if people don’t object, noting the pain; medications; feelings; appointments etc. If I do it online I shall be able to copy/paste it ready to post along with application forms. If anyone has any other ideas I shall be very grateful? Get in touch if you do! Am willing to try all feasible options!

I shall also, once I have the forms, arrange to speak with a more regular GP (my surgery uses locums). I shall make sure they know all relevant details regarding pain etc. Alongside this I will contact Consultants, via snail mail, and prepare them for any possible correspondence from the DWP. Same applies to my Physio and

I shall keep a record of any emergency hospital trips I make plus operations that may, or may not, happen.

At the moment I feel anxiety flowing through my veins as I hate uncertainty and I fear for the loss of DLA. DLA, to me, means I can afford (well most of the time) to eat as well as paying my rent & council tax top ups; bills and travel to hospital appointments etc.

This is the side of benefits you don’t see in the media very often. Maybe this will change. Who knows?!

Before I sign off I must ask, again, if anyone has any better ideas for recording a diary suitable for use in a DLA renewal application. If you do then please let me know asap. Thanking you in advance.

Kind regards xxxxxxxx