Eidence that DWP bars email communication from disabled claimants
Fresh evidence has emerged that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has refused to allow benefit claimants to communicate via email, despite its claims that it allows disabled people with “valid reasons” to do so. Last week, one disabled PIP claimant, Mark Lucas, told how he was taking legal action against DWP for refusing to allow him to communicate with its civil servants via email as a reasonable adjustment under the Equality Act.
DWP insisted in its response that “claimants are entitled to request to receive all communications from the department by email on the grounds of disability under the Equality Act 2010”. But after Lucas’s story was published, other disabled people have come forward to cast doubt on that response, and have described how DWP has refused to let them deal with their benefit claims by email.
This is unsurprising to ATR. Deaf people who really need direct contact with the DWP who also use extensive text approaches, and whom advice charities like the CAB are UNABLE to assist due to high cost of support, are always refused direct contact.
Having gone to the CAB first, all they could manage was writing things down, hopes were dashed when the CAB telephoned the DWP on the deaf client behalf only for the CAB to be told, the DWP would not accept a call on the client behalf, deaf would have to call in person, the fact they cannot hear made no difference.
DWP insisted deaf use a dedciated text line or BSL video, but the text line was never answered or was not au fait with what text systems deaf now use to communicate, (E.G. Minicoms which deaf stopped using years ago, in favour of iPhones etc). Landlines were obsolete for the deaf.
The BSL line was no use to many because they don't rely on sign language, and as stated in a previous blog had no usage of note by BSL claimants. You would not get advice from the DWP on how to make welfare claims, they simply process the claims. Deaf are forced to revert to primitive 'snail mail', where due to time restrictions on claims, you rarely if ever, got a response until that time limit ran out, double jeopardy. It still would not help deaf people with literacy issues who could not clearly write what their issue was to a dept that honed in on any spelling error or unclear statement.
It is highly discriminatory of a state welfare system to block avenues of making a claim... by preventing perhaps the sole means of making that claim. Be it by an accredited agency, or dedicated support area. The DWP appears to be able to ignore a rights and equality act with impunity, simply because it is an 'arm' of the state, even their subcontractor has a right to ignore yours.