Letter to The Mail on Sunday

INTENDED FOR PUBLICATION Re: Healthnotes / 14 January 2007 /p63

Representatives
from ME/CFS charities have tried unsuccessfully to ensure that new
medical guidance to be issued by the Department of Work and Pensions in
February properly reflects the fact that this
is a serious and potentially very disabling neurological illness.

It
is not uncommon for people with ME/CFS to have disability benefit
applications refused on the grounds that the problem is considered by
examining doctors to be more psychological than physical, but it is
incorrect to state that '…patients are not entitled to the higher
level of (Disability Living Allowance/DLA) benefit payments'.


Where
appropriate, higher rate care and mobility compenents of DLA can and
should be claimed for by people with moderate or severe ME/CFS, and
they should not be dissuaded from doing so if they believe they have a
good case to put forward.


Dr Charles Shepherd
Medical Adviser, The ME Association
4 Top Angel
Buckingham MK18 1TH

NB: The new DWP medical guidance for ME/CFS states in section 15

For
the purpose of DLA, however, the current law means that a claimant
cannot be eligible for a higher rate of mobility unless his/her
disability is considered "physical". For this purpose, CFS/ME is
"physical".