The Disability Living Allowance application form is used, in the UK, to allocate £13 billion of disability benefits. However, no research has examined how claimants actually fill out such forms.
This talk reports data on people with acquired brain injury and their main informal caregivers (22 dyads, n = 44) working together on the Disability Living Allowance application form. Fifty four percent of the questions led to substantial discussion and 26% led to open disagreements. In 88% of the disagreements, caregivers considered the disability to be more severe than did the person with brain injury. Qualitative analysis indicates three causes of disagreement.
First, there are ambiguities in the questions asked. Second, caregivers tend to focus on their caregiving role and obtaining financial support, while the people with brain injury tend to focus on self-presentation as being independent. Third, there is a clash of addressivity, with caregivers either orienting to the assessors, or, orienting to the care-receiver and downplaying care needs in order to bolster their feelings of independence. I conclude by arguing that the observed form-filling does not document self-evident facts, but rather, is better characterised as a peculiarly asymmetrical and monological form of social interaction.
Biography of Speaker(s)
Alex Gillespie is a Lecturer in Psychology at the London School of Economics, and Co-Editor of Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour. He is fascinated by social interaction, specifically how it produces novelty, distributes cognitive processes, creates our sense of self, and enables society to reproduce itself.