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In response to NAO report

Posted: 8th January 2016 by Richard Motley
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In response to the BBC article:

Disability benefit tests have doubled in cost, says NAO

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-35256386

8th January 2016

We here at seAp Advocacy, welcome the latest NAO report on the Work Capability Assessments, which shines a light on the plight of disabled people going through the assessment process. We agree with the NAO that “The department {DWP} needs to do more to ensure private providers deliver a better deal for sick and disabled people as assessments have a huge impact on their ability to access vital cash to live with dignity.”

This is why seAp has developed a number of ways to support people to get a fair assessment. Our advocacy service in Hastings supports people who need to attend a medical assessment for ESA (employment support allowance) or PIP (personal independence payment) benefits with face to face support. We support people to give a fair assessment of their capabilities and attend the assessment with them if need be. As a result, none of our clients have appealed their decisions. We aim to provide this important service in many other areas but it's all down to funding.

It's never a substitue for face to face support but until we can provide that service to everyone who needs it, we have developed interactive apps to help people through the process and give them an idea of what the tests are all about, they are free to use for anyone in the county. The apps provide information and enable people to prepare for their assessments. Take a look at www.c-app.org.uk to see for yourself.

We firmly believe that the current benefits system, especially for disability benefits, is not working.  We meet many people who are incredibly anxious by the thought of these assessments as the results are so vital to their ability to live independently in the community.  As reported previously, the assessments can cost lives (as this article from the BBC in August of 2015 reports http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-34074557).

There is no easy fix and real commitment from the government is needed to address the situation and urgently. In the meantime, we at seAp Advocacy and our partners and colleagues in the voluntary sector will continue to support and develop methods of support, like the C-Apps, to empower those at vulnerable points in their lives.

 

Richard Motley,

Marketing & Technology Officer - seAp Advocacy


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