Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer
Deaf young people are reporting problems with all aspects of the process to claim the benefit, Personal Independence Payment (PIP).
From having to use the phone to request an application form, to staff lacking deaf awareness and finally being denied the benefit, the process discriminates against deaf young people.
Unfortunately the Government decided to rollout PIP to all from July 2015 before fixing these problems.
PIP’d Off campaign
In response we have launched a new campaign, PIP’d Off. This campaign calls on the Government to improve all aspects of the claim process for deaf young people. As part of this campaign, we’re asking people to take action and call on the Government to halt the rollout out of PIP until it is fully accessible to all deaf young people. Almost 800 people have emailed the Government about this issue so far!
Here’s what some people had to say in their messages to the Disability Minister:
“When I received a letter from Department of Work and Pensions, letting me know that my DLA was due to end this year and I needed to apply for PIP instead. On the letter, it was stated that I had to PHONE them to get an application form so I could get started on applying for my PIP. I am 26 years old and I had to ask my mother to make the phone call on my behalf. It is not acceptable to expect a deaf young person to ask others to make the phone call for them. This takes away their right to independence and privacy.”
“I personally have had to write to get a PIP form sent to me, only for my application to be dismissed as it is deemed I ‘cope’ well with my life long disability. My husband has had to ring for another form as since having my first child, who is also deaf, my deafness is causing more difficulties for me. The CAB have advised I should be entitled to PIP hence trying again. There needs to be Deaf aware specialists working on Deaf cases and applications to ensure those of us ‘coping’ with this hidden disability get the support we deserve.”
“My daughter, who is nine, is deaf. I worry greatly about her future. This present government appears to singling out the most vulnerable in society and it does not reflect well on your party, Surely it is better to help young deaf people become contributing members of society, paying taxes, etc. rather than living a life dependent on government support?”
“Whilst it is good the Department is taking action, I need to admit why was this not planned at the very start, please, in accordance to the Equality Act and consulting with experts like us Deaf people? The process should have been accessible for everyone from the very outset. There is anxiety amongst young deaf people and their families/carers that the email trial and the development of the online system are still not complete.”
“Surely, the Government should be setting an example against any form of discrimination furthermore I suggest that this is a breach of disability access rights and disability equal rights. An obstacle that wouldn’t be allowed should it be a physical obstacle against someone’s access to buildings etc. There is no difference, an obstacle for a disabled person’s rights is still an obstacle and the Government are guilty of putting obstacles in place in this instance.”
“We have a number of children with hearing impairment at school and two in particular whose disabilities will be life long. Looking ahead to their future I would like to think that those governing our country will consider ensuring that there really is equitable access to welfare benefits for the disabled. These young people have to work harder than their peers to achieve the same results. Everything is a challenge including socialising. Please look again at the PIP for these youngsters – they have the right to independence in the same way that every young person without disability does”.
“It is imperative that equal access is a priority & the timetable for the rollout of PIP needs to be addressed to ensure any minority group is not disadvantaged. This has very serious implications & the Government has a clear duty of care to ensure all citizens are treated equally – not the case at the moment!”
It’s clear that many people are not happy about this issue. Please have your say as well and take action as part of this campaign. Call on the Government to halt the rollout out of PIP until it is fully accessible to all deaf young people!
Find out more
Find out more about PIP’d Off and watch out for more blogs reporting on the progress of this campaign.
Get in contact
We would like to hear from you if you are a deaf young person (16-25) and have struggled to claim PIP. Please tell us your story by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org