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Incapacity Benefit Applications

There are some things you can do to help yourself with completing an Incapacity Benefit claim and getting medical evidence to back it up. With an application for Incapacity Benefit(referred to as IB in this document) the Department will be trying to assess whether or not you’re capable of doing your job(called the own occupation assessment), and later on they will be considering whether or not you might be capable of any form of a job(called the all works test).

Incapacity Benefit has now been replaced with a new benefit called 'Employment Support Allowance' which began on the 27th of October 2008. We will be preparing a hints and tips guide for this soon. For those who are currently receiving IB or Income Support (IS) for ill health as long as you continue to meet the entitlement criteria your benefit will continue for the time being, eventually though all IB and IS for ill health will move over to the new benefit.

The entitlement criteria for IB is that for physical health problems you need to be awarded a minimum of 15 points which are awarded by being unable to perform specified tasks as outlined in the benefit claim form, and for mental health conditions you need to be awarded a minimum of 10 points based on the tasks you are incapable of completing. You can also have a combination of physical and mental health points awarded.

Step one
It’s important to ensure your GP knows exactly how you are affected by your Fibromyalgia, and any other conditions you may have.

It is a good idea to keep a pain diary which tracks your symptoms, medications and the problems your condition(s) create for daily living, and the impact it has on your ability to continue with your work.

Step two

Contact your local advice centre for assistance with completing the IB claim form, CAB, Welfare Rights, DIAL or another advice agency may be able to assist you.

You can also contact FMAUK's benefits helpline, Janet Horton does have a guide available to explain claiming IB if you do not have an advice agency close to you.

Your local advice agency can also do what’s called a ‘benefits check’ for you to make sure you’re receiving all the benefits you may be entitled to. They may also be able to let you know what other services of programs that are available which may be helpful for your circumstances.

Step three

With IB it is important to look at each question carefully, if you’re unsure whether or not you can do a task that’s described try it and see where you fit within the descriptors. If you can't fit exactly into a descriptor tick the one that is worse than you are and then explain exactly how you are elsewhere. If you do not put a tick they will assume there is no problem.

 

With IB if you have more than one condition make sure you remember to identify all the problems each condition creates for you.

 

If you have problems that do not fit in any of the descriptors you can add the extra information in the space provided on the form or you can add it on a separate sheet of paper(please ensure you put your full name and NINO on any information you hand in or post)

Step four

If IB has asked you to provide a ‘Med 4’ form this is something that you will be able to get from your GP.

This is a form of a ‘sick line’ but it has more detailed information about how your condition affects you.

Step five

Once your form is completed and you’ve got all the documents together you can post your application (please send it signed for/recorded delivery) or take it to your local Jobs and Benefits Office/Jobcentre Plus (ask for a receipt if you’re handing it in at your local benefits office) Please keep a copy of the completed form and your documents in case things get lost or misfiled.

If you are turned down for benefit appeal the decision, get help from the agency that's helped you complete the claim form if you’ve had help. If you haven’t had help now would be the best time to contact them for advice and assistance. If you cannot get help from an agency contact Janet Horton and ask for the appeals guide for the benefit you have applied for.

 

If you're turned down they may be able to see where things have gone wrong may be able to help you to get the further evidence to support your claim.

If you are applying for IB you may also meet the entitlement criteria for a 'top up' of Income Support or you may be entitled to Income Support instead of IB if you haven't met the contribution requirement for an IB claim, some people are given both forms when they go down to their Jobs and Benefits Office, Social Security Office or Jobcentre Plus.

Income Support is a means tested benefit and will be based on your family circumstances, a benefit check from your local advice agency will let you know whether you need to apply for Income Support as well as Incapacity Benefit or any other benefits you might be entitled to.


DISCLAIMER:
Please be advised this guide is for information only. We strongly advise that you receive help from your local benefits advice centre for any benefit applications or appeals.

***There is no guarantee that following the advice provided will result in an award of benefit.***

When speaking about your claim, you must claim only the symptoms you as an individual have.
Each person with Fibromyalgia has symptoms individual to them, and may have additional conditions and symptoms. You have to fill out application forms as honestly and as accurately as possible.

The DWP (DLA/IB/AA/ESA or other benefits) and the Tribunal Appeals Service tribunal panel have the ability to award a continuation of an award at the same level. To change any component that they have awarded at the level they believe is suitable for each individuals circumstances and condition(s),they can also reduce your award or remove it completely and they can decide what dates your award will begin and/or end based upon the evidence for each case/person.

Help on specific benefit questions can also be accessed through FMAUK’s benefits helpline by Shannon Dalshaug

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