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Case Studies » Sickness » 2014/23 - Specified Disability: Osteoarthritis (Knee)


Specified Disability: Osteoarthritis (Knee)

Background: The appellant, aged 56 years, had been in receipt of Illness Benefit.  When her entitlement under that scheme (two years) was due to cease, she made a claim for Disability Allowance.  She has a diagnosis of Osteoarthritis in her knee and had surgery some months earlier.  At the time of the oral hearing, she was providing care for her mother and was in receipt of Carer’s Allowance.


Oral hearing: The appellant attended alone.  The formal decision was read and the question at issue clarified.  The appellant was advised as to the evidence which had been relied upon in making the decision to disallow her claim.

The appellant reported that her last employment had been three years ago and that she had given it up as it involved standing and she was unable to continue because of pain.  She confirmed that she had undergone knee surgery in 2013, and that she had attended her local hospital subsequently as a day patient.   She contended that her knee was worse now than it had been before the surgery.  She reported that she was able to drive but that her knee gets sore; that she cannot walk too far; that she used to go dancing but can no longer do this, and that exercise was difficult as she feels her leg is a dead weight.

The appellant stated that she cannot sit with her leg straight and that she is unable to stand for very long.  She also finds that bending and stooping is difficult.  She said that she takes Paracetamol once a day and that she is waiting for physiotherapy.  She referred to problems in sleeping as she has to keep her leg outside the bed clothes.

The appellant advised that she can manage to do housework, shopping and cooking and that she continues to provide care for her mother.

Comment/Conclusion: The Appeals Officer noted that while the appellant had obvious problems with her right knee, she was a carer for her mother and appeared to have no difficulty in carrying out this role.  Having carefully examined all the evidence, including the account provided by the appellant at the oral hearing, she concluded that it had not been established that the qualifying conditions for Disability Allowance were met in this case.

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 examined all the evidence in this case, and taking account of the medical evidence available, I have concluded that the appellant has not established that she meets the qualifying conditions.  In the circumstances, I regret that the appeal cannot succeed.