Is there a “Golden Rule” to filling out your application?
Many people involved with the DLA state that one rule about claiming is very important. Imagine your absolute worst day and complete the form with this in mind. For example, we have seen something similar to this quoted: You suffer varying cataplexy that needs support when walking six days a week. But one day you can actually walk say 100 yards. You will find their decision will be based on 'you can walk 100 yards' and the fact you are virtually house bound will be ignored.
It sounds quite enticing. However it is absolutely the wrong thing to do. Don’t do it. It could get you into serious trouble and it doesn’t even make for the most convincing of claims.
Throughout the form you are repeatedly asked to say what difficulties you usually have with different activities. When you sign the declaration at the end of the claim pack, you sign to say: “I declare that the information I have given on this form is correct and complete as far as I know and believe. I understand that if I knowingly give false information, I may be liable to prosecution or other action”
If you have knowingly given an entirely false picture of how your condition affects you on most days of the week, then you could be in real trouble. This could include having to repay benefits if it is later shown that your condition does not affect you as badly as you said on the claim. Will your doctor or Consultant lie for you? If so fine, give it a try but as they probably will not then the medical evidence you will present later will be unlike your application and you are off to a terrible start.
It’s even worse with narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is a condition that varies, some days you are good and other times you are bad. If you produce an application that is as constant as “the bad day” scenario would be, you and your claim would look silly. That would be bad news for you and all those with narcolepsy who come after you.
So what do you do? Do not go for worst case scenario but neither go for best. That is perfectly acceptable. Explain what an AVERAGE day is like and then use your worst days to show how bad things can get. That way you give the most honest, accurate but also very convincing evidence about the reality of your daily life. You explain what it’s like most of the time, but you’ve also shown that your condition varies by saying what it’s like on your worst days. And you haven’t undermined your claim by talking about having ‘good’ days. Never ever mention good!
If you only use your worst days in the pack but under questioning another side of the condition appears you may be seen as an unreliable witness by the tribunal and awarded nothing at all.