Friday, 28 August 2020

Getting the PIP!

All 1.6 million Personal Independence Payment benefit claims to be reviewed  - BLB Chronic PainRegarding the recent petition on fair access to welfare claims by the deaf and the blind.   Posters stating an inability to read forms or understand them and asking friends to help out.

#1 I done signed as future no social worker service to help us (deaf people) need help with this PIP forms as it is so harder to explain on write forms.

#2 Clearly, the poster exhibits some major issues following the printed word!

#3  I noticed some deaf still asking friends and relatives to fill in their PIP forms. Please DON'T! always consult professionals or the CAB or a deaf charity who know what to say. Don't be reliant on video access unless you are fully confident you can deal with the DWP on your own and manage a 3-way system. The DWP has own interpreters who perhaps will put questions in a way your usual BSL terp would not, and they won't help you either.  You can ask the DWP to come to your home with an Interpreter and they will help you fill in the forms.

#4 Yes probably the best way. They can then see for themselves what the problem is.  

#5 You can have a friend or relative with you as personal support if you want that but NOT to do your talking.  Don't use children [hearing or not], they won't know what is going on, again, once you abdicate responsibility to someone else you pay for their mistakes too.   [It's actually illegal for the DWP or the deaf person to use a child under 16 as support of any kind or, for systems to demand they do.].  The social services can look at it as child abuse.   

#6 Last PIP issue 46% of deaf asked relatives and they all failed to claim anything because they made a complete mess of the forms.  The forms are quite complicated and ambiguous even for people who can follow all the questioning.  If you can't read the forms tell the DWP not ask someone else.  Once you pass over responsibility for form filling any mistakes YOU pay for.  

#7  You can RECORD any interview with the DWP at your home, [first ensuring the DWP know and given a copy, or, it cannot be used as evidence if a mistake is made].  

#8 Be AWARE! most home interviews will NOT be via the DWP at all, but their subcontractors, the DWP do very few face to face interviews themselves.  Also, ask if the interviewer is qualified to assess deaf issues.  It's important you are assessed by people who know what issues we deaf face.  

#9 Ideally going it alone is better (if more stressful option), because that then forces the interviewer to face up to the issues you face directly, why make it easier for THEM?  Making it easier for the interviewer can suggest you can mange OK as well. Using support from family or using someone else (Who can be quoted as your carer thence, you get ignored as well), your own help can be given as a reason for NOT being able to claim help from the DWP.  It's all about what the see.

#10 If you record proceedings send the  same day TO the DWP [There are issues subcontractors do not ask the right questions or, added a few you never knew about after!], so notifying the DWP prevents that being used to disbar your claim.

#11 I need a deaf social worker to help and there aren't any...

#12 Social Services are gone mostly, and if that is something deaf want back, they need to understand it was a massive deaf campaign that got RID of dedicated deaf social workers when deaf decided they wanted more personal freedom of choice and personal control a Social Worker couldn't give them. You ended up at home and ignored whilst systems just connected to a social worker who had different rules to follow and perhaps made decisions for you, that you didn't agree with.  

#13 It was a throwback to the bad old days of deaf schools and a social worker for life for deaf people.  It made the deaf very lazy too, they even allowed social workers to read or redirect all mail to them.  It was younger deaf who decided they didn't want that any more.

#14 Own goal by the deaf. Social workers started acting as interpreters instead which gave them more freedom and a higher wage but without the aggravation.

#15 A lot didn't! At the time less than 35% of 'deaf' social workers had any sign qualifications, that was part of the demand to disband that system.  There were no real 'levels' and systems that were reliable.  Disbanding the archaic SW system forced an improvement. It was what made the present system of BSL support extant where a deaf person can ask for a BSL terp to assist with the system for free and without the shackles of the 'terp' being a social worker too.

#16 There was a meeting of the social worker directorate where they voted to stop supporting a dedicated deaf sign-based support system because most social workers would fail to qualify under new rules of professional qualifications in BSL.  The whole thing went down the swanee.

Sign it again Sam...

Or, how deaf enjoy 'some' types of music.  Experience suggests deaf rely on vibration and 'feeling' not hearing to follow the music, so limited to music that predominantly is loud or has strong bass or percussion content. The age of the video producer bears that out.

Most musical instruments and the singing voice are not available to deaf people.  I think there is a mixed message going on when the deaf claim to 'hear' music and produce it when clearly most of it is unavailable to them, can they tell by just listening to the difference between Elvis or Pavarotti?  Their claims are based on their own interpretation of what the music is.

Opera is an area rarely if ever deaf people engage with or classical music much (Apart from percussionists like Evelyn Glennie), but again it's an example of a deaf person using vibration to follow or create (And considerable training and memory recall it is how Beethoven did it, albeit he had hearing first to recall).  It's a conundrum in that loud or heavily bass music is something no hearing loss awareness charity or Dr would advise you to follow.  E.G. loud and persistent listening(!) to such bass patterns can induce vomiting, and affect the heart.

There is an assumption we are deaf already so it has no effect, that would be a wrong assumption as bass can affect the stomach and other organs, as well as living tissues with over-exposure. Basically (!) it would be incorrect to suggest deaf can appreciate all music, they are quite restricted by default as to what they can appreciate e.g. other musical instruments can be beyond their ability to detect producing less or lower vibrations the body can 'feel', it is why deaf opt for bass and drums etc.

Could they discriminate between one pianist or another e.g? or one violinist from another? or even as stated one singer from another?  Not by listening alone.  All the examples shown in the video were based on the deaf ability to feel the music, NOT, hear it.  For hearing the singing voice has many aspects you can appreciate (Or hate!), the deaf won't be able to discriminate that way.  For young people loud is good anyway, but to follow all types of music is a limited if not impossible option.

Many attempts by the deaf to emulate others hearing tend to fail really as this is a 'copy' of what is sung or danced and simply by adding sign becomes 'deaf art' which we think is invalid it's simply an interpretation.  Music is subjective too and deaf suffer by default in that area too.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020

It's a PETITION (Not a declaration of intent).

No more PIP reassessments for people with Lifelong disability or conditions? What was posted online:

No more PIP reassessments for people with Lifelong disability or conditions"When a disabled person has a lifelong disability, or condition that will not change and will not diminish, they should not have to go through Light Touch Reviews at 10 years. If someone cannot self-advocate, they can be taken advantage of and can be manipulated. Medical Consultants give enough evidence through their reports that 10 year Light Touch Reviews, or indeed ANY reviews shouldn't be necessary. 

Our daughter Holly is Certified Sight Impaired, On the DeafBlind Register, cannot use phones or fill in forms, yet we are still being told she will need a Light Touch Review at the 10-year mark, HOW? Unfortunately, we've already had an horrific PIP assessment when she turned 16 that we do not want to be repeated."

ATR response: As stated it isn't a declaration of accepting that deafness or blindness is for life by the DWP but a petition to hopefully do that.  However, validation is still an issue, as is defining deafness because grassroots are at odds with definitions.  Whether the DWP will then accept it as a lifelong reason for a disability allowance isn't so clear, the validity of financial support is defined on the ability to manage your issue.  

I'm wondering if the increasing use of technology and such as well as relentless campaigns against being labeled AS disabled are undermining the support we need with our deafness?  Deaf are campaigning on the grounds of culture/language, so maybe the DWP is taking them at their claims and so not validating deafness and hearing loss support as a result? be careful what you ask for perhaps?   Recent 'new' video access to the DWP could well be used to suggest deaf don't need financial support as they already get free BSL support, the highest disability rate of Access to work help in the UK, reduced entrance fees to public areas, and free public transport on buses etc.

It's become an increasing 'problem' determining a lack of help is there or, support.  Whilst hearing with issues can claim help to facilitate social deprivation issues, the deaf can't, mostly because the 'Deaf' have own social setups and given any choice would stick with that.  Human rights are being used in cultural terms not disabled terms. The DWP allowances cover issues of disability in regards to hearing loss. LOSS is a prime factor as well as the ability to cope with it, Deaf are blaming lack of access, not lack of ability. 

Nothing is for life at the DWP and can be reviewed at ANY time.  The only certainties in life are taxes and death.

Yes, we are deaf for life but if we claim deafness is NOT the problem we can expect that to have an effect, it then becomes a rights issue outside the remit of the DWP being political. When I first applied for an allowance they said being deaf was not an  'excuse', it took 6 attempts and 3 YEARS before I got the old DLA now that is gone again. I am profoundly deaf in both ears and have been for 50 YEARS. When I got DLA the DSS (as it was then), kept asking me when my hearing was coming back. I said never, they kept asking.


It would be a false assumption to suggest the deaf 'made' the DWP provide access this way.  Memories are pretty short. E.G. the DWP provided text access when we all started to use Minicoms. 2016 there was THIS.  A deaf charity offered to mediate.  That changed recently because the DWP wanted to retain all control over claimant applications and wasn't confident a BSL run area was neutral, being 'in-house' they could determine claimant approaches more effectively. (Bad news for claimants who are deaf). 

In reality, the deaf only utilized video for their own social usage. Just as they do now with video apps etc. They are NOT being used to access the DWP or other systems much at all.  The DWP are also hiring own BSL terps so that deaf cannot rely on or use, terps they know.


There were also issues coming from the then 'Deaf' social services, (a dedicated area for the deaf sign user now defunct).  The Social services opposed Minicom use because they did not want to (A) fund them for the deaf, or (B) fund a telephone line as well, they also denigrated the deaf by stating there was no point, the deaf couldn't use a phone or read and write text, 'who would they telephone?'  Deaf were screwed by their own support.

Those statements empowered the DWP to withdraw access deaf campaigners had already got installed. In part it was to keep deaf reliant on social services who systems preferred to deal with.  When minicoms became obsolete the DWP withdrew the option, in reality, some Minicoms had less than 7 calls in 4 months, some had no calls at all. 100s all installed in regional DWP offices were mothballed.  Deaf started using faxes too these were also withdrawn and again deaf used the technology for themselves not interacting with the DWP or anyone else.  

DWP also provided video access a few years ago. Campaigning deaf had reservations and still wanted face to face interaction with support, well, some did, but a lot didn't.  Part of the problem was deaf not using the options of access as each new technology presented itself to DIY. Minicom usage to police also became obsolete, where again the Deaf SS insisted there was little point in deaf terms for that, even suggesting Minicoms offered a way into police systems for hackers and spoilers. ATR campaigned against social services for 11 months to get a phone number deaf could use to THEM and convince the police direct access was viable.  So apart from getting a Minicom you had to get a number too.

I distinctly recall deaf refusing to use e.g. the police dedicated access and a lot still do. In the last few years, the DWP has started changing contact numbers and closing offices too, that in a few areas of Wales meant the CAB e.g. was unable to help the deaf because the DWP did not tell them of changes. The DWP has always been legally obligated to include the deaf and disabled, its not a black and white situation because 63% of ALL deaf are simply using family and friends to make those oral calls.  Demand has to be seen to be used.

During the last major benefit changes (PIP e.g.), BSL access, video access, and support were again established as a right then.  Part of the difficulties was the BSL user, who hadn't the support available they demanded, the BSL terps were swamped and couldn't meet the need of supporting EVERY deaf claimant the numbers just aren't there.  Offering video access is still an issue that deaf are advised NOT to use themselves without professional advice, because of difficulties understanding questions asked etc, so video access would be for the very few deaf confident of holding their own with a system like the DWP whose primary aim is to stop claimants from getting benefits.  Deaf complained the forms made no sense to them, they couldn't read most of it.

Many hearing also, havehad extreme difficulties wading through what is a very complex and negatively-run system.  In reality the deaf would be better off NOT attempting to use video access to the DWP alone, but seeking professional advice and letting them do the applications for allowances or sort out issues.   Deaf would have to record video interaction with the DWP too, and the DWP permission to do so would have to be agreed, or, an issue following would be invalidated.   Copies of video interactions have to be sent to the DWP also. 

A TTY phone for the deaf with a voice phone on it to help ...
Sadly in areas of the UK there are still no adequate BSL - oriented DWP claim support areas they can turn to.  BDA advisors in Wales e.g. were approached and none were found qualified to help. Personally, I don't think 70% of the deaf are capable of using video effectively, it's one thing to sign to family and friends quite another to deal with the state arm of the DWP whose sole aim is to  PREVENT deaf claiming anything.

Via PIP one thing we learned was the DWP constantly moving goalposts continually and putting time limits on responses etc a lot of deaf people struggling to get advice ran out of time and out of claim eligibility.  The DWP like the NHS has ALWAYS been legally obliged to include deaf people, but barriers exist often with the inability of the deaf themselves to pursue their claim without help.  Its like deaf people having a visual doorbell, it works fine, you answer the door then....?

Obviously using a 3-way approach with a translator involved is a help, but, BSL interpreters are NOT DWP savvy and cannot help you on points of claiming allowances, they are there to translate what hearing people say, nothing else, the response has to be your own, so if you use video you better ensure you have ALL the avenues covered yourself first.  I don't think the DWP offering all sorts of access can help deaf with that issue.

I suspect this 'access' will be as difficult to utilize as all the other means being offered.  Obtaining video access is just.... the START.