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Case Studies » Sickness » 2014/10 - Specified Disability: Pernicious Anaemia, Gilbert’s Syndrome


Specified Disability: Pernicious Anaemia, Gilbert’s Syndrome

Background: The appellant is 32 years of age.  In connection with his claim, his G.P. completed the ability/disability profile and assessed the appellant as being affected as follows:

  • Mental Health/Behaviour – affected to a mild degree
  • Balance/Co-ordination – affected to a mild degree
  • Manual dexterity – affected to a mild degree
  • Walking – affected to a mild degree
  • Climbing – affected to a mild degree


Oral hearing: The appellant provided a written statement pertaining to his circumstances.  He outlined the background to his difficulties, which began in childhood, where he experienced regular stomach pains, nose bleeds, dizziness and weight loss. His condition was wrongly diagnosed initially as Gastroenteritis.  He reported that he had worked for a few months in an apprenticeship after leaving school but was forced to give up due to extreme tiredness. He said that he had done some work in construction about six years ago, when he had been employed as a general labourer for about five months. The work tended to be of a casual nature which he said allowed him to recover somewhat between assignments. He said that, after a considerable time spent at home, and following a range of diagnostic testing, he had been diagnosed as having Pernicious Anaemia in his mid-twenties. He was treated with B12 injections and returned to studying.  He was accepted on a degree course and moved close to the college to minimise the impact of travel.  Having completed the first two years of the course, he had deferred his studies during the third year as a consequence of ill health.  He reported having experienced burnout and constant headaches, hair-loss and exhaustion, allied to the financial stress of not being able to work to supplement his studies.

The appellant advised that he had returned to college and resumed his studies. He stated that he attends college from 9.30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and, while he has missed a few days, he has attempted to attend for at least part of every day.  He reported that he continues to find it difficult to absorb nutrients and that this contributes to his constant tiredness.  He said that he finds it particularly difficult to wake up in the morning and any exertion undertaken thereafter tends to exacerbate his symptoms, with sustained effort leaving him feeling burnt out.  His also reported a disturbed sleeping pattern, extreme fatigue towards the end of the day, and an inability to eat much.

In conclusion, the appellant stated that he was attending the Migraine Clinic at his local hospital, with a view to obtaining a diagnosis and treatment related to recurring migraines.  He said that he had already had a Computerised Tomography (CT) scan.

Comment/Conclusion: In determining this case, the Appeals Officer had regard to all the documentary evidence available and, in particular, to the report of the appellant’s G.P. and the ability/disability profile which he had completed.  He noted that this indicated that the appellant suffers from a long-standing chronic condition and that he requires regular intramuscular injections to keep his condition somewhat under control.  He noted also the reference to the appellant’s concentration being affected and also to the statement that he experiences extreme fatigue.  He took account of the appellant’s letter of appeal and the oral evidence provided throughout the course of the hearing.  He was satisfied that the appellant had provided an accurate account of his circumstances and the difficulties he encountered arising from his medical condition.

The Appeals Officer noted that the appellant had commenced a degree course and had completed over two years in college.  While he had deferred his studies in the third year, he had recently recommenced those studies and the Appeals Officer considered that this suggested that the appellant felt well enough to commit to full participation in his course.  He noted that the appellant had referred in his appeal submission to undertaking his current studies with a view to moving into an area with a self-defining schedule, and that he was hopeful that he would qualify with credentials which might allow him to become self-employed.

The Appeals Officer accepted that the evidence clearly indicated that the appellant struggles in sustaining effort and is adversely affected by his condition.  However, he considered that his return to college in an effort to gain qualifications which might allow him to become self-employed in the future was indicative of an ability to apply himself to work. On that basis, he concluded that the appeal could not succeed.

Decision of the Appeals Officer: The appeal is disallowed.

Decision reason(s): Disability Allowance may be paid where a person is substantially restricted in undertaking work which would otherwise be suitable with reference to their age, experience and qualifications and the specified disability must be expected to continue for at least one year.

Having carefully considered all the available evidence in this case, including the medical evidence, I have concluded that the appellant has failed to establish that he meets the qualifying conditions. In the circumstances, the appeal must regrettably fail.