Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Scandal of the 'welfare war' on Deaf people

Image result for welfare wars UKThe last year, and since the introduction of new assessments for the welfare allowance PIP (To replace the old DLA allowance), it has been exposed that due to the high complexity of professional knowledge required to undertake the form-filling. the combination of automatic DWP challenges to results, and unsupported or frequent cancellations at medical interviews, has resulted in the State welfare arm the DWP, and its present sub-contractor (Capita) employed to undertake the assessment process, has resulted in an almost total withdrawal of welfare support for deaf people, and the almost impossibility, of them making claims.

ATR posted on a PIP Facebook site, after requesting an FOI from the DWP for details of the current access situation.  Initially, the DWP disowned the fact they were turning deaf people down without first providing them with their legal right to support to follow.  They pointed at the sign language interpreters, who they say are either failing to turn up when booked, or simply not willing to work with the DWP. 

Interpreters state, because this would take away their support of deaf people to access important areas like 999 and Health/Social Service etc, the 'bread and butter' daily work and dire need of support for deaf people using sign language.  The DWP insisted the Interpreters were messing them around, failing twice, even three times, to turn up for DWP bookings, making cancellations inevitable for deaf claimants.

ATR pressed the DWP regarding their unwillingness to provide details to back up their claim that BSL Interpreters were to blame for deaf people losing out.  The DWP responded to an FOI sent by ATR, "Details of BSL bookings and records of failed interviews are not kept by us'.  ATR stated this was a lie, plain and simple, since, their sub - contractor are claiming fee expenses, they or Capita, would have HAD to record those.   The DWP then moved the goalposts declaring the FOI was 'beyond the remit for providing ATR with details',  then demanding £600 up front, presumably for further details they said they didn't keep.  ATR was effectively priced out of getting information, supposedly free by law.

Subcontractor Capita has so far refused to respond to ATR, only in as much as passing the buck to the DWP who make final decisions on claims, but the issue was about the access to making claims, not the decisions made subsequently.

Background:  

Whilst totally not agreeing with either Capita or the DWP on access, it seems clear the demand by the DWP alone to support deaf making new welfare claims cannot be met, simply because the support cannot meet the demand.  Requests to Capita/DWP to suspend the time limits on claims, so that supply can catch up with demand, has been ignored, making no exceptions for the fact this leaves deaf people unsupported, and unable, to make claims, and having claims failed because no support was available in time to complete the forms or assessments.  The DWP is also failing to make clear deaf people can have extensions if access is an issue, they are just telling deaf you are too late to claim.

Individual attempts by deaf to make claims has met with an 80% failure rate so far..

The DWP insists deaf people should utilise disability advice areas, deaf/HoH charities, and dedicated welfare advice setups (like the CAB).  This failed day one because the demand on BSL interpreters was too high already, advice charities, could not pay BSL fees, they had not the funds even if Terps were available.  Deaf are angry near every charity that represented them had not a single dedicated welfare advice area, leaving them unable to make a claim.   E.G. some deaf in Wales were told to commute to London or the home counties of England to access dedicated professional advice for an expensive fee.

The postcode lottery was almost national in nature. Anger is aimed equally, at deaf charities, HoH charities, and the DWP, and Capita the subcontractor, is accused of unprofessionalism and amateurism, via using unemployed students to assess on medical and deaf issues..

Deaf claimed their deafness was being ridiculed, declared a non-issue, even that deaf were frauds trying to claim welfare support, whilst insisting online they had no issue of disability, and Capita and the DWP were openly trawling deaf social media sites to back up the claim deaf were frauds as a norm..

The current PIP application forms are incredibly complex to complete, even for hearing people, it's based on a 'points' system that means basically, any positive in a deaf life is a cure for being deaf, ergo you are not requiring any support for being deaf.  E.G. 4 points for having difficulty communicating, were zeroed by minus 4 points because you could walk OK.... result ? no points to claim on.

ATR (Wales), posted on a Facebook site:


It's (PIP), a total minefield for disabled, its sole point is to stop payments to disabled people. Current rows in S Wales are that campaigners have discovered that due to a heavy demand for sign language support (that CANNOT be met), the DWP are just turning down deaf claimants automatically, it also appears their BSL support is refusing to aid the DWP too by not turning up for booked appointments.  Terps claim this is untrue.

Currently, the RNIB are supporting deaf in Wales because none of the deaf charities or the CAB can advise or pay for their interpreters. No support and no advice either, the demands of the DWP are on a system that only has 1 interpreter per 160 deaf people, that demand cannot be met for the DWP, or all other support would have to be abandoned. Pleas for extensions to applications so the support can catch up with demand, has been refused by the DWP, who use time limits to stop claims proceeding....

The welfare PIP thing seems the prime reason, unintelligible and unfathomable, and that is just from the stat advice agencies, who themselves complained the DWP have refused to answer even their calls violating the law of cooperation....

The only recorded deaf access via BSL to the DWP that they declared was 781 calls on the video relay system of the DWP, however investigating that number this was for ALL welfare claims made by deaf, not PIP alone. In essence, next to none in the scheme of access. 300,000 deaf lost DLA when PIP came in,now next to no deaf claim anything or are able to.

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