Using the Health Assessment Questionnaire and welfare benefits advice to help people disabled through arthritis to access financial support
Langley, C., Memel, D., Kirwan, J. R., Pollock, J., Hewlett, S., Gubbay, D. and Powell, J. (2004) Using the Health Assessment Questionnaire and welfare benefits advice to help people disabled through arthritis to access financial support. Rheumatology, 43 (7). pp. 863-868. ISSN 1462-0324
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/rheumatology/keh184
Objectives: To test, in a variety of health settings, the ability of the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ) disability index to predict the eligibility of patients with moderate or severe arthritis for disability living allowance or attendance allowance. Methods: The study included patients from 20 general practices and four hospital out-patient departments across four areas in the southwest of England. Adults with an established diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis, or osteoarthritis of the hip or knee, and who were not in receipt of Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Attendance Allowance (AA) were sent an HAQ. Those who scored 1.5 or more were offered an appointment with a welfare advice worker at which they completed an application for DLA or AA. After 3 months they were contacted by the advice worker and asked about the outcome of their applications. Results: Over half of those who completed an HAQ scored 1.5 or over (moderate to severe disability as measured by the HAQ) and were offered advice from experienced welfare benefits advisors. Of these, 87% applied for DLA or AA. Sixty-nine per cent of the applicants were successful. Those scoring 1.75 and over were more likely to be awarded benefit (73% success CLs 67, 79) than people scoring between 1.5 and 1.625 where 55% (CLs 41,69) of applicants were successful. Conclusion: The HAQ was shown to be a good predictor of eligibility for AA or DLA. It can be used, in a variety of health settings, to indicate patients who, with help from an experienced advisor, are likely to gain increased financial help.