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Case Studies » Sickness » 2014/17 - Specified Disability: Cerebral Aneurysm, Deafness, Depression


Specified Disability: Cerebral Aneurysm, Deafness, Depression

Background: The appellant, aged 45 years, had been in receipt of Disability Allowance since 2009 and had participated in a number of Community Employment (CE) schemes.  Following a review, her claim was disallowed with effect from a date in 2014 as it was held that she no longer met the qualifying criteria.  Medical evidence submitted indicated that she had a mastoidectomy in 2013, and that she also suffers from Tinnitus and Panic Disorder.  In completing the ability/disability profile, her G.P. assessed the appellant as being mildly affected in most categories, and affected to a moderate degree in relation to hearing.

Oral hearing: The appellant attended alone.  She stated that she had been diagnosed as having a cerebral aneurysm many years ago, and that it is an inherited condition.  She said that a member of her family had died as a consequence of the same diagnosis and that she has a fear of death at all times, making her very nervous.  The Appeals Officer noted that the medical report indicated that her condition was stable and the appellant said that she was being monitored on an ongoing basis and has an MRI scan every six months.

The appellant reported getting severe headaches and migraines and said that bright lights and flashing lights affect her and that she wears sunglasses most of the time.  She said that her headaches were unpredictable and can sometimes last for hours.

In relation to her hearing, the appellant stated she has no hearing at all in one ear and 50% in the other.  She said that she cannot socialise as a result, nor can she obtain most types of work that involves groups of people, as she can only hear on a one-to-one basis.  She said that she has had recurrent ear infections with associated Tinnitus, making her feel dizzy and disorientated.  She referred to the surgery she had undergone for mastoiditis and said that she is scheduled to have the same procedure carried out on her other ear.

The appellant advised that she had been taking part in Community Employment (CE) schemes for the past few years.  At the time of the oral haring, she had been working in the office of a religious order, doing light duties like photocopying. She said that she worked only in the mornings and was dropped off and collected each day.

The appellant reported that she also experiences depression, and that her G.P. had recently prescribed medication.  She stated that she gets afraid sometimes, has panic attacks and has a fear of leaving the house. She said that her sleep pattern is disturbed and that she finds it hard to concentrate and experiences mood swings.

Comment/Conclusion: The Appeals Officer referred to the comprehensive medical evidence submitted by the appellant.  She noted that the appellant had participated in a number of CE schemes in recent years, even whilst undergoing ear surgery, and that she was due to finish her current scheme in a short time.  She considered that the appellant’s return to the workforce was not a viable option given the deterioration in her health, and having regard to the problems with her ear and difficulties associated with her hearing, as well as the panic attacks she was experiencing.  Taking all of the foregoing into consideration, she was satisfied that it had been established that the appellant continued to be substantially restricted in undertaking suitable employment.

Decision of the Appeals Officer: The appeal is allowed.


Decision reason(s): Disability Allowance may be paid where a person is substantially restricted in undertaking work which would be suitable with reference to their age, experience and qualifications and the specified disability must be expected to continue for at least one year. This substantial restriction must be medically certified as having continued, or as being expected to continue for at least 12 months.

I have carefully examined all the evidence in this case including the medical evidence and that adduced at the oral hearing. Taking account of the medical evidence, the appellant’s cerebral aneurysm, now stable, combined with further awaited ear surgery, tinnitus, profound hearing loss and depressive features, I have concluded that the appellant has established that she continues to be substantially restricted and there is insufficient evidence to show that she is no longer restricted to the same extent as heretofore.  Therefore appellant is deemed to continue to meet the qualifying conditions.