Making benefits fairer

Last week our campaigning team convinced Fra McCann, Member of the Legislative Assembly in Northern Ireland, to speak out for the 12,000 people with Parkinson’s who claim Employment and Support Allowance.

The Allowance, which replaced Incapacity Benefit last year for new claimants, is currently being discussed as part of the new Welfare Reform Bill, and it looks likely to get harder to claim.

At the moment, medical assessments for the Allowance are not carried out by people with training or knowledge of Parkinson’s. Parkinson’s is a fluctuating condition so claimants may be having a 'good day'when they are assessed, and appear to be capable of returning to work. They may then have to go through a series of Work Focused Interviews. If someone with Parkinson's misses an interview because they are having a 'bad day' - when even getting out of bed is difficult - their payments could be reduced or stopped.

We have heard from people through emails and on our discussion forum who have been refused the Allowance because the medical assessments didn’t give them enough time to explain symptoms, or relied on an inflexible tick box system.

We think this is unfair. With help from parliamentarians like Fra McCann, who has recommended that training be provided for medical assessments, we can avoid these mistakes occuring.

If you'd like to share your experiences of claiming Employment and Support Allowance please fill in our short questionnaire. And why not sign up to our National Campaigns Network and join others who are campaigning for fairer services for people with Parkinson's?

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.