Applying For Disability Allowance
Before I start writing about my experience with disability allowance/payment, I want to say that I know how much harder it is for others to get approved for disability. It seems to be a bit easier here in Ireland. I am very grateful of that. Here in Ireland it is called disability allowance. It is paid weekly and we receive 203 euro a week.
I was on illness benefit for one whole year. Then, on the 7th of July it stopped. I applied for disability allowance a week before my illness benefit stopped.
Step one: forms
The first step of my application was to fill out a form. Well, a booklet. This including information about my illness and any income I had been receiving in the past year. This step was easy. I filled it out and posted it in the mail. I thought that this was the only step. I was expecting to get paid within 8 weeks.
One Thursday morning my regular doctor rang me. I had to book in with her for a medical assessment. Unfortunately, she was going on holidays for two weeks. So, I had to wait two weeks to do the medical assessment.
Step two: questions and exam
Two weeks later I went to my doctor's, and she had a booklet of questions to ask me. This took about a half an hour. Next was a physical examination. She examined my back and asked me to do a variety of stretches and mobility exercises. She could see instantly that I was very stiff and that I was in pain.
My regular doctor is amazing and she knows how much pain I deal with on a daily basis so she wrote all of this down in the booklet. She is aware of how much fatigue affects me and stated this on the form too. Since I was already seeing her, I decided to get my routine blood tests done too. This saved me coming up the following week for another appointment.
Step three: more paperwork
So, now I was thinking ok it must be at most another 8 weeks until I am paid. Nope. Next, I receive a call from a very helpful woman from the disability office, she named out a list of forms that I had to print out, fill in and post to her. There was a lot of paper work to do. I did this straight away as at this point I was about 6 weeks without pay.
A month passed and I still heard nothing. The woman rang again, saying because it took so long to process these forms that we need new up to date ones. So, I printed out the forms, filled them in and I posted them to her again.
I heard nothing for a few weeks. I thought: "No news is good news! My money has to be here soon!" A letter comes in the door from the social welfare office. I thought: "Woohoo I’m going to get paid." I was wrong.
Step four: even more paperwork
This time they wanted my bank statements for the past three months of all of my accounts. The wanted my Credit Union statements (a small community savings bank) and my PayPal statements. They wanted me to write what each transaction was. This was quite tedious and time consuming. They also wanted details from my college and a letter stating that I am registered for the course that I am in.
At this point I was sick of paperwork, but I filled in all the forms and got all my bank statements as soon as I could.
On the 14th of October I received a letter stating that my disability has been approved and my payment will begin on the 21st of October! I felt so relieved. I will finally have an income. And better again I’m getting back paid from when I applied. That means 14 weeks of back pay. My mother is delighted as I owe her over €1,000, at least.
So with my lump sum of money, I will pay back my debts, put some in my savings and I’m going to treat myself to a new TV as mine is slowly breaking.
What has been your experience with applying for disability pay?
How much about your AS do you share with others?