Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Prescription Charges 2

Well, I had a long conversation with an advisor at the Down's Syndrome Association today and found out all the details regarding free health care for my daughter.  Apparently, it is the case that anyone with Income Support gets free prescriptions but anyone on Incapacity Benefit does not.  This includes glasses and dental care.

However, the present government are changing the system yet again, and anyone currently on Incapacity Benefit will be moved onto something called Employment and Support Allowance, which is basically the same thing except each person will have to undergo an interview to check whether or not they are fit to go to work.  This is part of the government's plans to weed out the benefit scroungers and make sure anyone getting support is eligible.  It is a gradual process apparently as they slowly work through all claimants - hopefully with our name beginning with 'B' it won't be too long.

Once my daughter is on this 'new' benefit, she will once again be eligible for free health care - all a convoluted process, but I can see the reasoning behind it.

Interestingly, the DSA advisor said that many parents were angry that their child would have to go through an interview, but she pointed out that surely this was the best way for anyone to see for themselves that the person is genuinely unable to work.  I agree with her - if you are a genuine case, then there is nothing to worry about.

Whilst I understand all the above, I do wish that this information was passed on to the benefit claimant rather than having to find out only when something goes awry.  As carers, we have more than enough to deal with without having to follow up on each and every change to the system to find out how it affects the person we are caring for.  I have found this throughout my daughter's life - the really pertinent information is never made known in a straightforward way, you either have to fall foul of some new ruling or stumble across it.  This was one of the reasons I started this blog - I do know of parents who are ahead of the game and super-knowledgeable about everything their offspring is entitled to, but there must be a great deal like me who have enough trouble juggling work, caring, home and their own problems and just don't have the time or energy to trawl through every single website and booklet or spend hours on the phone speaking to advisors!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Prescription Fees

My daughter is an adult now and as such, her benefits are now the Disibility Living Allowance and Incapacity Benefit - which used to be classified as Income Support.  Prescription fees are free to those claiming Income Support but apparently since changing the name of the benefit given to disabled people, prescriptions are no longer free for those claiming Incapacity Benefit.

We are lucky in that my daughter is strong as a horse and rarely ill.  She has however a susceptability to athlete's foot and a fungal nail problem and has been on a repeat prescription for tablets to treat this.  Boots the Chemist have been handling this with their automatic renewal system, but last week they messed up as whoever dealt with us the previous time had failed to send on the relevant form to the doctor's surgery. This meant I had to contact the doctor and get a new prescription which was sent to their closest pharmacy.  So off I tootled, picked up the prescription and filled in the form the same way I have done for the past several years, ticking the Income Support box.

Imagine my shock to receive a letter yesterday fining my daughter £36 for falsely claiming a free prescription! (Imagine my shock that it took them less than one working day to fire off this letter claiming money when to actually get a benefit takes months....) So I rang them up and spoke to a very helpful young man who informed me that claimants of DLA and Incapacity Benefit no longer get free if you are a feckless workshy scrounger you can get your meds for nothing, but if you are genuinely needy you can't?

He did inform me that if we apply for a certificate to prove we are a low income household (an HC2?) she can claim free health care for a year..he is sending me the form, but application etc will take 6 weeks!  See what I mean? In the meantime, thankfully, he has put a note to stop any further pursual of the fine and once I give them the number of the form, this will be wiped clean.

In the meantime, I shall be phoning various helplines to find out if this is indeed true - it seems very unfair that those who are genuinely sick or needy are expected to pay for their health care.  I shall keep you informed of the results - if anyone out there knows anything further, please let me know.