I have had the lovely pleasure this week of filling in the dreaded benefit forms known here as the Disability Living Allowance forms, 39 pages of soul destroying questions designed I think to bring on depression to anyone that fills them in. Forms like these can really get you very depressed, you are constantly thinking of all the bad ways your condition affects you, mulling over the best way to put it into words to fit the form. I have heard many stories of people reduced to depression tablets simply because they have spent days filling these forms.
So what can be done to alleviate the problem? I think getting someone else to fill in the form for you as you relate your problems is the best way. Also get your family to help you fill the forms or let them know that you’re going through this task as the more support you get the better. Emotional Support is very important; consider letting people close to you know that you are making a claim, and that you would appreciate their support.
Next, write everything down you put on the form or photocopy everything you are sending, these agencies often lose forms. I found that having a written record from last time you filled in the form really helps to keep the depression down for next time you fill the forms. The trouble with benefit forms is they put a lot of emphasis on whether you can walk and they do not comprehend that there are people that have problems standing, but may still be able to walk a bit. I find this difference displayed most when I visit the supermarket on my mobility scooter, people with walking problems get off their scooters when they get there and walk around the store, I am the other way around, I get there by car and then get on the scooter to go around the store. It always amuses me to look at the mobility scooters parked up in the entrance to the store.
Finally get an independent guide from a source other than the agency you got the form from, it might mean a small charge, but they are worth it. Many people filling in forms miss the point of the forms, they think that they are just describing their condition and forget that the point is to show what help you need. What are your experiences of benefit form filling?