What are you entitled to?
The benefits you may be entitled to due to fibromyalgia include; Attendance Allowance (AA), Disability Living Allowance (DLA), Personal Independence Payment (PIP), and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).
ESA is money for people who have limited capability for work because of their sickness or disability.
To claim ESA you will need to fill out an initial form. You can get a claim form by ringing Jobcentre Plus, or downloading it online.
You will need information such as your national insurance number and proof of identity.
You will then have to prove your limited capability for work at a Work Capability Assessment. This is made up of two parts.
Firstly a Limited Capability for Work Questionnaire will be sent to you, which you will need to complete and return.
Secondly, you will usually need to attend a medical assessment in person. A healthcare professional will see you in a face-to-face appointment then report their findings to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).
PIP is money for people who have extra care needs or mobility needs as a result of a disability.
To claim PIP you will need to fill out an initial form. You can get the claim form by ringing the DWP. You should start collecting the documents that you want to put with your claim at this point.
Once the form arrives you should fill it in and send it back to the DWP with any documents you have.
You will then hear from Atos or Capita to arrange a medical assessment. After the assessment you will receive a letter telling you of the result.
Attendance Allowance is money for people aged 65 or over who have care needs.
To claim AA you will need to fill out an initial form. You can get the claim form by ringing the AA helpline, or downloading it online.
The form comes with notes telling you how to fill it in and where to send it. After your claim is received, you may have to have a medical examination although this would not usually happen.
If you are unsuccessful in claiming after your first face-to-face assessment you can appeal. The first stage of appealing PIP and ESA is a mandatory reconsideration.
A mandatory reconsideration is when the DWP look at their decision again and decide whether to change it.
If the decision is still not changed, you can appeal to a tribunal. The tribunal is independent to the DWP.
In the last four years, only 4% of all PIP decisions were overturned at mandatory reconsideration, and only 3% of all ESA decisions were overturned at this level as well. However, at the tribunal stage of PIP, a staggering 65% of appeals were overturned.