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Case Studies » Sickness » 2014/24 - Specified Disability: Cardiac Stent, Prolapsed Lumbar Disc


Specified Disability: Cardiac Stent, Prolapsed Lumbar Disc

Background: The appellant, aged 58 years, had a cardiac stent fitted twelve months previously and also has a Prolapsed Lumbar Disc.  In connection with his claim for Disability Allowance, his GP assessed him as follows:

  • Mental Health/Behaviour – affected to a mild degree
  • Balance/Co-ordination – affected to a mild degree
  • Vision – affected to a mild degree
  • Manual Dexterity – affected to a mild degree
  • Sitting/Rising – affected to a mild degree
  • Walking – affected to a mild degree
  • Hearing – affected to a moderate degree
  • Reaching – affected to a moderate degree
  • Lifting/Carrying – affected to a moderate degree
  • Standing – affected to a moderate degree
  • Climbing Stairs/Ladders – affected to a moderate degree
  • Bending/Kneeling/Squatting – affected to a severe degree

Oral hearing: The appellant attended alone and the Appeals Officer clarified the question at issue and advised as to the information on the file that was relied on in making the decision. The appellant reported that in addition to his certified diagnosis, he also suffers from asthma and has done since he was 15/16 years of age.  He referred to further problems in relation to the vision in his right eye and to hearing loss in his right ear.  He said he had injured his back about four years ago when he was lifting bags of cement and that since then he had been unable to work as a carpenter/joiner in the family business.  As a consequence, the equipment had been sold and the business closed.

The appellant went on to say that, following a heart attack, he had had a stent inserted.  He made reference to his age and said he knows that he is not able to do the work he is skilled and experienced in.  He said he takes medication to dull the pain in his back, is on heart medicine and has inhalers for his asthma.  He advised that he had tried acupuncture to relieve the pain in his back.  He said the pain is intermittent but, due to his condition, he gets pins and needles in his foot and he experiences constant stiffness.  He reported walking at a measured pace to get some relief and for the benefit of his heart.  He said he has great difficulty bending and stooping and has to bend from the knees, and he requires support to get upright.  He is able to drive but finds getting in and out of the car difficult.

The appellant confirmed that he continues to attend a Consultant Cardiologist every three to four months and has regular appointments with a Consultant Neurosurgeon in relation to his back.  He said he has discussed his condition with his G.P. but has been informed that it will not improve.

Comment/Conclusion: The Appeals Officer concluded that the appellant was substantially restricted in engaging in suitable employment in line with the relevant legislation.  In reaching this conclusion, she noted his demeanour at the oral hearing.  She observed that he had difficulty sitting and rising, that he was also breathless and relied on his inhaler on a couple of occasions, and that his hearing loss had been noticeable at times.  She noted also the nature and duration of his previous employment and she was satisfied that he was substantially restricted by way of his age, skills, experience and incapacity as required by the governing legislation.

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 otherwise be suitable with reference to their age, experience and qualifications and the specified disability must have continued for or 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 and the evidence adduced at the oral hearing, I have concluded that the appellant has established that he meets the qualifying conditions.  In the circumstances, the appeal is allowed.