Disabled households worse off on Universal Credit breakthrough test case win
A single mother with a disabled daughter and a woman with mobility difficulties who were left worse off after they were forced to move to universal credit (UC) after their existing benefits were wrongly stopped have won a breakthrough case in the Court of Appeal.
The judgment means that, depending on what remedy the DWP chooses, the two households – and potentially thousands like them subject to wrongful decisions by the DWP – will be able to return to their previous benefits or have their UC awards topped up to the level of their previous benefits.
For more information head to our website.
Gov.uk publish information on the help DWP provide for those claiming benefits with access requirements
The new web page is to be regularly updated as the DWP improves its accessible communication services.
The DWP says it can make adjustments if your disability or health condition means that you have:
- Difficulty using the phone
- Difficulty using a computer
- Difficulty reading letters or filling in forms
- Difficulty attending face-to-face meetings
- Difficulty managing your own affairs
The DWP says that it now working to have a link placed on all relevant pages for customers to easily find the above information.
Read more on our website.
Tragedy of Deaths in Care Homes
Deaths of disabled older people and older people with serious health conditions living in Care Homes are 40% of all deaths from coronavirus. This is a truly shocking and distressing situation. There is a strong tide of opinion that not enough was done at an early stage, to protect lives. The government contends that it took the necessary actions and has this week committed an additional 600 million pounds to infection control measures in Care Homes.
Watch this powerful film from Sky News
DR UK gives evidence to House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee on Universal Credit
Disability Rights UK Researcher Evan Odell gave evidence to the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee inquiry into the economics of Universal Credit on May 13th. He was joined by James Taylor of Scope. The evidence included the impact of the lower benefit rates of Universal Credit on disabled people, the harm caused by sanctions, and the insufficient support given to disabled people who want to work, among other topics. You can watch the video or download the audio of the session here.
Unfortunately there are not subtitles on the video, however there should be a transcript published of the session sometime in the next fortnight. You can read our written submission to the inquiry in from March here.
Over 260,000 disabled people waiting for DWP benefit assessments
Figures published by the DWP in response to a parliamentary written question show that as of 27 April there were 166,630 PIP claimants with either an assessment scheduled or awaiting scheduling. As of 4 May, 101,910 people were waiting on ESA claims.
The shocking backlog has been caused by DWP disability benefit staff being transferred to deal with the upsurge in new Universal Credit claims in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Read more on our website.
Thoughts from ‘actual’ lockdown experiences
Find out from one of our members Wiltshire Centre for Independent Living about the efforts they are making to understand the community response to the coronavirus crisis. The CEO Geraldine Bentley shares their report and her insights.
Read it in full on our website.
Deaths of People with Learning Disabilities, Autism and Mental Health Patients
Last week the Care Quality Commission published figures on deaths of people in mental health hospitals. There were 106 deaths between 1 March and 1 May, which contrasted with 51 deaths in the same period in 2019.
Click here to read the CQC report
Figures released yesterday show that 451 people with learning disabilities died in hospital in the past six weeks.
For more information see the NHS England website.
Social care may face 21% cuts, warns Labour
The Labour Party is warning that councils may have to brace themselves for cuts of around a fifth of their social care budgets. Its analysis is suggesting that local authorities may face a £3.5bn shortfall, resulting in the loss of care for just under a quarter of a million adults.
Read the full story on our website.
Government guidance updates
The government has updated the following guidance on 12 May 2020;
Coronavirus (COVID-19): implementing protective measures in education and childcare settings.
The DWP Touchbase newsletter has a roundup of recent DWP announcements
For changes to Access to Work during the Corona-19 outbreakfollow this link.
Coalition for Collaborative Care (C4CC) partners: shared responses to the Covid-19 pandemic
Two partners in the Coalition for Collaborative Care (C4CC) are encouraging shared thinking around the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Chief Executive of Power to Change has written an essay on the impact of COVID-19 and how to sustain community spirit beyond it.
Read the report.
Supermarkets Urged to Talk to Disabled People
During the crisis, thousands of disabled people have visited charity helplines, tried to contact supermarkets and sought to get on to the government food emergency scheme, as previous arrangements for buying food either broke down or were no longer practically possible. Disability Rights UK along with other disability organisations have asked to meet with supermarkets, to discuss the reasonable adjustments that need to be put in place for disabled customers, but with no success. Disability Rights UK has been invited to give evidence to a Select Committee on the problems disabled people have encountered in accessing food and what could be done to move things forward.
Read Disability Rights UK’s submission to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee here.
NHS Roadmap To Safely Bring Back Routine Operations
Health leaders have recently set out a series of measures to help local hospitals plan to increase routine operations and treatment, while keeping the necessary capacity and capability to treat future coronavirus patients. Over the coming weeks patients who need important planned procedures will begin to be scheduled for that care, with specialists prioritising those with the most urgent clinical need. Patients will be required to isolate for 14 days and be clear of any symptoms before being admitted. Testing will also be increasingly offered to those waiting to be admitted. Those requiring urgent and emergency care will continue to be tested on arrival and streamed accordingly, with services split to make the risk of picking up the virus in hospital as low as possible. Those attending emergency departments and other ‘walk-in’ services will be required to maintain social distancing, with trusts expected to make any adjustments necessary to allow this.
Read the full guidance.
Three funding grants now open to assist with food distribution during the Covid-19 pandemic:
The Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) has launched a Food Charities Grant Fund. If you run a front-line not-for-profit or charity that provides food, you may be eligible to apply for a grant to support your organisation to provide food to those who need it. You are encouraged to apply as soon as possible. The Food Charity Grant Scheme requires charities to apply for at least £30,000.
To find out more and to apply, visit Gov.uk.
For charities interested in funding below £30,000, the National Lottery Funding is awarding grants from £300 to £10,000 and is prioritising organisations supporting people most likely to face increased demand and challenges as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
For further information, visit the National Lottery Community Fund website.
Finally, WRAP are offering financial support to small not-for-profit organisations who can redistribute surplus food from retailers, wholesalers, and food manufacturers etc., to people in need. Eligible applicants may apply for grants of between £5,000 and £10,000.
For further information, please see the WRAP website.
Inclusion Scotland publishes results from survey of disabled people
Inclusion Scotland has conducted a survey of 822 disabled people and carers in Scotland, the initial results are available on their website. Respondents reported decreases in both formal and informal care and support as a result of the pandemic, and that social distancing was leaving them feeling very stressed and isolated. Getting access to food and medicine was also reported as a significant concern, with nearly two-thirds of respondents reporting difficulties getting access to food and/or medicine.