So in this week’s blog article I’m going to talk about a slightly more taboo topic which sometimes makes others uncomfortable or which many people have strong feelings on; should people with ADHD claim from the welfare system? I must admit if you’d have asked me many years ago my answer would have been a firm no!! My mum always told me that you just do what you need to do, no excuses, in other words, you just get on with things no matter how difficult. Now my mum kind of has a point, and it’s a point that’s helped me to overcome lots of adversity over the years, but there is another perspective on this.

When I was at university, I was really struggling to live up to academic standards in terms of my university work. I can type up a whole novel relatively easily, but trying to write academic lingo is a whole different ball game, which I have little hand-eye coordination for. Anyway, I got thirds and two point two for most of my first year and half of my second year. In laments terms, I was bottom of the food chain when it came to getting top marks. Part way through my second year I had an epiphany that I was doing myself a disservice and applied for disabled student allowance. From this, I was awarded a specialist private academic tutor once a week and let me tell you that made all the difference in the world. I went from getting thirds to firsts and graduated from my class with the best overall performance and a distinction degree.

“To claim or not to claim support, that is the rather controversal question these days.”


Now I told you that very long-winded story to say this; if I hadn’t applied for student support I probably would have still graduated with a lower grade, but would that have been me living up to my potential? Probably not! It’s the difference between allowing yourself to float down the river and hoping for the best, or having the ability to swim down the river and getting where you want to go. One is a struggle where you are probably getting to baited and bruised, the other makes life easier and ensures you have the best possible chance of survival.

In the UK, as an adult you can claim Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for a multitude of health/ conditions including ADHD. This isn’t given based on a diagnosis; this is given based on how the health condition impacts your life. I’ve never had this allowance, but I did try to claim it when I first got told about it. I was in teaching at the time and was really struggling with the amount of marking and lesson planning I had to do due to the mental energy. My colleague said “why don’t you claim money for you ADHD, cause you have to put more mental energy into this job than most people?” I had never thought of it like that before so with their guidance decided to apply.

“Sometimes we’re put off applying for support because of what other people may think of us or even what it might say about us.”


My claim got rejected fairly quickly, which from what I hear it not that uncommon. Most people’s opinion is that the government reject all claims first time to deter people from claiming. I did consider appealing, but my heart wasn’t really in it. I think I’d realised by that point deep down that teaching as job from my perspective was toxic due to intense pressure, impractical workloads and unbearable scrutiny. In essence, it’s not a great environment for someone who is not great at conforming or needs to be allowed room to make small mistakes. I’d also state that the funding system for colleges in the UK is beyond ridiculous but that’s a whole other story.

For children, the government offer Disability Living Allowance (DLA), again this is not based on a diagnosis but how much it affects their life. Having helped my friend complete a form for her child, I can tell you that they certainly don’t make it easy for people. I like to think I am fairly educated person, and even I struggled with the 40-page long form due to the mental energy it took and I had to help my friend do it in several stages. There is no way to do it online and unless you’re familiar with adobe reader then it needs to be handwritten. It also requires you to describe your child in worse possible terms just to ensure they secure the support.

Some may argue that having ADHD doesn’t cost people more money but it actually can due to lack of attention, for example; I left a really bottle of expensive shampoo in a gym shower the other day because it didn’t occur to me to put it back into my bag. This is known amongst ADHDers as ADHD tax, where the forgetfulness or the impulsiveness of our ADHD can cause us more money. Its very frustrating but a very real thing.

Of course, only you can decide whether you want to apply for PIP or DLA on behalf of your child, because us having ADHD in common, every single case is different. The likelihood is we will all probably need to fight for the support we’re entitled to, but it doesn’t mean we don’t’ deserve it. Until next time guys!


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