The process for parents of children with type 1 diabetes to claim financial support has been made easier, it has been announced.
The Government has agreed to change the medical guidance on Disability Living Allowance (DLA) after being lobbied by campaigners.
The amendments will now make it easier for children with type 1 diabetes to meet assessment criteria, should their parents choose to claim.
DLA is a non-means tested and tax free benefit which was created to help the parents cover the costs of looking after a child who ‘needed more looking after than a child of the same age who doesn’t have a long-term condition’.
Leading charity Diabetes UK said three years ago it started receiving reports that applicants were experiencing problems in claiming DLA awards. Parents of children aged over 12 years old said they were being turned down for the benefit, and Diabetes UK believed the medical guidance content for DLA decision makers was misleading and called for it to be reviewed.
Alongside the Families with Diabetes National Network (FWDNN), Diabetes UK encouraged affected families to ask their local MP to raise the issue with Mark Harper, who was the Minister of State for Disabled People at the time.
Last year the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) agreed the guidance need to be updated and it has now been significantly altered to incorporate issues raised by families.
Chris Askew, chief executive of Diabetes UK, said: “For too long the guidance to Disability Living Allowance misrepresented type 1 diabetes in a way that left the challenges faced by families of children with the condition unrecognised and their claims too often rejected.
“This newly revised guidance is a big step forward for families and children with type 1 diabetes because it clearly acknowledges the challenges and extra care required to manage this complex condition.”

Neil Sykes, from the Families with Diabetes National Network, said: “There was an assumption that children with type 1 diabetes should be able to look after themselves from the time they began secondary school.
“There was no understanding of the fact that managing the condition in teen years comes with a whole new set of challenges. Looking after a child or a teenager with type 1 diabetes is almost a full-time job, with no let-up day or night.
“Furthermore, research shows that more intensive management improves blood glucose levels for children and therefore reduces their risk of developing long-term complications. Through sharing their own experiences and frustrations with their MPs, our wonderful families ultimately played a key part in getting the DWP to listen to and act on our concerns by revising this guidance.”

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