Claiming an allowance or appealing a decision can be daunting and we hope the information below is helpful. We’ve also provided some useful links
Chronic Pain, as a disease in its own right, may not, in all instances, be categorised as a disability for the purposes of claiming benefits, so your entitlement to benefits will to a large degree depend on how your disabling condition is reported in a medical report and how it is looked upon and interpreted by the relevant decision makers. You should take note of the definition of ‘disability’ as per the Disability Act 2005 and it is as follows.
“disability”, in relation to a person, means a substantial restriction in the capacity of the person to carry on a profession, business or occupation in the State or to participate in social or cultural life in
the State by reason of an enduring physical, sensory, mental health or intellectual impairment;
Many claims are rejected because of an inadequate medical report. It is insufficient for your physician just to state that you have Chronic Pain and that you should get the Disability Allowance. Your claim is assessed by a medical team working for the Department of Social Welfare and the medical report must contain as much detail as possible. For example; what type of Chronic Pain does the patient have e.g. FBSS, CRPS, Fibromyalgia, Neuropathic Pain; what impact has the illness had on the ability to work, travel and on relationships; what treatments are recommended and what is the prognosis. The more detail the better the chance of success.
If you are claiming an allowance there are some useful links below. Remember if your application has been rejected there is an appeals process. The Department of Social Welfare have a protocol in place for assessing chronic pain.
Occupational Injury Benefits Scheme
This scheme relates to people who as a result of an accident at work or on their way to or from work have an accident and as a result end up with Chronic Pain or whose work directly caused the condition then they may be entitled to make a claim under the Occupational Injury Benefits Scheme. A lot of the benefits under this scheme are not means tested and could involve payments for life.
Claims can be made for any of the following.
- Injury Benefit
- Disablement Benefit
- Incapacity Supplement
- Constant Attendance Allowance
- Medical Card Scheme
Your local Citizens Information Bureau is a good first port of call as they will inform you of the procedures to follow and may even tell you what your entitlements are if any.
Citizens Information Services. Email: www.citizensinformationboard.ie Lo-call: 1 890 777 121
Scheme eligibility criteria are maintained on the DSP website and are accessible
from the following links:
Domiciliary Care Allowance
Respite Care Grant
Medical Assessment Criteria for Chronic Pain - know your rights
Medical Assessment Criteria for Chronic Pain
People with Chronic Pain who have an outstanding compensation claim or have an income protection policy or even seeking a social welfare benefit have been in the past sent to healthcare professionals who do not have training in Pain Medicine. People have been sent to orthopaedic consultants, osteopaths and even physiotherapists none of whom are specialists in Pain Medicine. Would you expect someone with a heart problem to be assessed by a neurologist? Obviously not and therefore we believe you should only be assessed by a specialist in the field of Pain Medicine. The following is an extract from the Irish Medical Council’s newsletter.
Pain Medicine: What you need to know:
The Medical Council recognises 57 medical specialties for the purposes of specialist registration in Ireland. Five new specialties have been recognised in the past two years, and this article explains the specialty of Pain Medicine, which was recognised in 2014.
What is Pain Medicine?
Pain Medicine involves the diagnosis and treatment of patients with chronic pain (lasting more than 3 months), cancer pain and the prevention of acute pain (classically postoperative pain) becoming chronic. It is practiced internationally on a multidisciplinary basis informed by the latest developments in neuroscience.
What do patients need to know?
The specialty of Pain Medicine is concerned with the diagnosis of the cause of pain, prevention of chronicity of pain, treatment and rehabilitation. Pain Medicine specialists can treat a range of conditions, from spinal pain such as back and neck pain, cancer pain, chronic headache and nerve pain such as trigeminal neuralgia. Patients can talk to their GP to see if a referral to a pain medicine specialist would assist in the management of pain.
What do doctors need to know?
The Faculty of Pain Medicine of the College of Anaesthetists is responsible for training, education and standards of practice in Pain Medicine in Ireland. There is a National Training Scheme. A Consultant in Pain Medicine possesses a Certificate of Specialist Training in a prior specialty such as Anaesthesia, has completed a two-year full-time training programme in recognized training posts and passed both parts of the Faculty of Pain Medicine examination. Referring doctors can contact the Faculty of Pain Medicine, CAI for contact details of Pain Medicine specialists in Ireland.