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Case Studies » Sickness » Disability Allowance - Case from 2017 Annual Report (ref: 2017/16)

Background: The appellant’s claim for Disability Allowance was refused on the grounds that he was not substantially restricted from undertaking suitable employment, as set out in the governing legislation. The appellant had been in receipt of Supplementary Welfare Allowance for over one year prior to his application, on illness grounds. The initial medical report from the GP gave his medical conditions as back pain, low platelets, gastritis, and gout. He stated that the appellant had an MRI, was attending the outpatient department at a local hospital, and was being treated with a combination of medication and physiotherapy. In the ability/disability profile on the medical report, the GP indicated that the appellant was moderately affected in lifting/carrying, bending/kneeling/squatting, and climbing stairs/ladders, and was normal in all other abilities.

Consideration: In a letter supporting the appeal, the appellant’s GP elaborated further on the issue of back pain. He also stated that the appellant had a serious bowel problem which results in “frequent bowel movements, up to 15 times per day” which was being investigated by a hospital. On consideration of both the original and the new medical evidence, the Appeals Officer was of the opinion that the combined effect of the joint pain and of the gastritis, which manifested itself in the form of frequent and uncontrollable bowel movements, on a daily basis, were sufficient to meet the legislative requirement that the appellant was substantially restricted from taking up work. Given that both of these medical conditions are currently under investigation with specialists, he was satisfied that the appellant would reasonably be expected to remain substantially restricted for a further period of 1 year. The decision was made in accordance with Section 210 of the Social Welfare Consolidation Act 2005 and Article 137 of the Social Welfare (Consolidated Claims, Payments and Control) Regulations 2007 (S.I. No. 142 of 2007) which sets out the medical eligibility criteria for Disability Allowance.

Outcome: Appeal allowed.