We’re PIP’d Off

Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer

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?”PIP'd Off

“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!” 

Take action

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 campaigns@ndcs.org.uk

Problems with PIP

Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer

Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer

We are becoming increasingly concerned about the experiences of deaf young people trying to claim the benefit Personal Independence Payment (PIP).

Our concerns:

It is quite extraordinary that the application process for a benefit that is designed to help people with a disability is not accessible for all those with a disability, such as some deaf young people. It makes a massive assumption that everyone has a phone and can use a telephone to make a request for an application. Yes, you read that right, deaf young people are expected to call up for an application form, or if they are unable to do so, ask a family member to call on their behalf. Talk about stripping a young person’s independence from them at the very outset! There is a textphone option but to be honest the likelihood of anyone under 30 owning a textphone is very remote! Alternative, ways of applying for the benefit such as via email or the website are not promoted or encouraged. It is shocking that deaf young people are having to hurdle…or maybe it’s more appropriate to say ‘pole vault’ their way over barriers that should not be there in the first place. And this is before they’ve even made it to their assessment!

  • You need a BSL interpreter at the assessment? They might forget to book it and ask you to continue with the assessment anyway!

We are aware of a case where communication support was not provided at an assessment, despite it being requested and that request agreed to. When it was clear the communication support had not been arranged, the assessor suggested the meeting go on without it! This demonstrates an extreme lack of deaf awareness which could jeopardise the chances of the deaf young person being awarded PIP and which causes considerable stress to the deaf young person involved.

  • If you are deaf you may not qualify for PIP but if you go to the effort of taking legal action against this decision, they might change their minds and apologise!

We are aware of a number of cases where an assessor and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has determined that a deaf young person is ineligible for PIP. The deaf young people in these cases have had to take legal action about the decisions. In one case the decision was reversed, the deaf young person was awarded PIP and the DWP apologised to the deaf young person and their family. The other case is currently ongoing. These cases have placed a great deal of stress on the deaf young people involved.

What we are doing about it
We are currently asking the Government what they are doing to improve the experiences for deaf young people in this process and continue to work with deaf young people to challenge any decisions where appropriate.

Share your story
If you are a deaf young person aged between 16 and 25 and have experienced difficulties claiming PIP, please let us know about it – email campaigns@ndcs.org.uk

Cuts to disability benefits? We’re watching the Budget

Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer

Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer

The National Deaf Children’s Society alongside Blind Children UK, Sense and the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) are very concerned about potential cuts to disability benefits ahead of the budget statement on the 8th July.

We know that the UK Government wants to save £12 billion from the welfare bill. We are really worried about the impact this will have on families with children with sensory impairments, many of whom rely on disability benefits to help them meet the additional costs of raising a child with a disability. We are asking you to take action and call on the Government to protect benefits for children with sensory impairments.

What the Prime Minister has said

Stephen Timms MP recently asked the Prime Minister if he would ‘confirm the commitment he made during the election that there will be no cuts in the benefits paid to disabled people.’

The Prime Minister’s response was as follows:
What we have actually done is to increase the benefits paid to disabled people by bringing in the personal independence payment, which is more generous to those who are most disabled. May I say how much I enjoyed meeting the right hon. Gentleman during the general election when we both addressed the Festival of Life in the ExCeL centre in his constituency? I do not know about him, but it is certainly the only time in my life that I have talked to 45,000 people at the same time, and I suspect the same goes for him.”

We are extremely worried that the Prime Minister did not confirm his previous commitment that there will be no cuts to benefits for disabled people. We are also aware that Personal Independence Payments (the benefit replacing Disability Living Allowance for 16 – 65 year olds) has not been more generous for young people with sensory impairments and in many cases has been removed altogether.

Now is the time to take action.

Take action

It is vital to take action now before the budget statement on the 8th July. Email your MP to ask the Chancellor to ensure benefits for children with sensory impairments are protected in the upcoming budget!

Action Plan on Hearing Loss

Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer

Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer

NHS England recently published their ‘Action Plan on Hearing Loss’. What is it and what do we think?

What is the Action Plan on Hearing Loss?

Well, in the words of NHS England ‘The purpose of the document is to encourage action and promote change across all public service sectors and at all levels on how children’s, young people’s, working age adults and older people’s hearing needs can best be met.’

Who is the Plan for?

All public bodies that are responsible for ensuring the needs of deaf children and adults are met, like health authorities, local authorities, and central Government.

Is it statutory guidance?

No, the key actions in the Plan do not have to be followed by law.

What do we think?

We welcome its focus on the need for deaf children to achieve age appropriate language, the commitment to tackling low educational attainment and the focus on mental health. The Plan also recognises the variation in quality in hearing loss services, which is good. However it doesn’t go on to explain in detail how to fix this problem. NHS England do acknowledge that the document ‘is not intended to act as a detailed implementation plan’ but this admission without any further explanation, leaves us wondering if there will ever be a more detailed implementation plan and who will be responsible for it?

How does it match-up to our Listen Up! campaign asks?

In short, it doesn’t. Our Listen Up! campaign calls for:

1) action to be taken to improve failing audiology services now
2) mandatory quality assessments to take place through a programme called Improving Quality In Physiological Services (IQIPS) and
3) all information about the quality of children’s audiology services to be published now, so that families know how good their audiology service is.

Unfortunately the Plan doesn’t specify how services should take action to meet even minimum quality standards. It mentions IQIPS only once in an appendix, suggesting it as a way to ensure quality but does not state its use should be mandatory. There is no call to ensure all information about the quality of children’s audiology services undergoing the IQIPS process is published.

What can you do now?

  • Take a look at the full plan to find out more.
  • Take action and email your local health commissioner to find out about the quality of children’s audiology services in your area.

We are continuing our dialogue with NHS England to ensure that all deaf children and young people receive good quality audiology services. Keep an eye out for our next Listen Up! campaign update.

 

Listen Up! We want to share your videos with NHS England

Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer

Liz Partridge, Senior Policy and Campaigns Officer

We’re meeting with NHS England on the 5th March to talk about our Listen Up! campaign and we need your help!

If you’re a parent of a deaf child or have used audiology services yourself, we would like you to produce a short video telling NHS England why you think good quality audiology services are so important for deaf children. We’ll then share your videos in our meeting with NHS England.

Having your voice at the meeting will really help to keep the pressure on NHS England to ensure that all children’s audiology services are good quality.

Please send your video to campaigns@ndcs.org.uk by the 4th March next week. We look forward to hearing from you.

You could also share your videos on Twitter, making sure to @NDCS_UK and use the ‪#‎AudiologyStory‬

We thought we’d have a go too, check out our Vine!

Watch this space for updates following our meeting next week.

 

URGENT: NEW Devon CCG restricting deaf young adults to just one hearing aid!

Liz Partridge, Campaigns Manager

Liz Partridge, Campaigns Manager

NEW Devon Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) has recently made an extremely concerning decision to restrict deaf adults (18 yrs and upwards) to just one hearing aid, meaning they will no longer pay for a second hearing aid for deaf young adults with bilateral hearing loss.

Not only is this decision shocking because of the potential impact it will have on deaf young adults but we also believe this decision has been taken without a full consultation with those the decision will impact on. We are working hard to seek a reversal of this decision, and we hope you can help.

Take action!
If you live in Devon, I urge you to complain to NEW Devon CCG about this. Please note this CCG does commission services in most areas in Devon, but if you live in some parts of South Devon you may want to double check which CCG provides services in your area before complaining. NEW Devon CCG does include both Plymouth and Exeter.

You can email your complaint to: pals.devon@nhs.net or complaints.devon@nhs.net , telephone on 01392 267 665 or 0300 123 1672 or text them for a call back on: 07789 741 099.
You may wish to include the following points in your complaint:
• Reverse this decision immediately
• This decision will have a severe impact on young adults at a critical time in their life when an emphasis should be placed on maximising hearing so that deaf young adults are able to fully access further education and/or early working life.
• I am aware that one of your equality objectives states that you will produce an Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) for all changes to new policies and you have said they will publish an EIA within or next to the relevant document on their website. However I cannot find evidence of this EIA. Please can you publish this information immediately as I want to know that deaf young people were properly consulted before this decision was made.

Please do also include your own personal stories as well, if applicable.

When you receive a response please forward it to us at: campaigns@ndcs.org.uk

You could also contact your MP about this issue and ask them to contact NEW Devon CCG about their decision. You can find out who your MP is here: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mps/

We are currently in talks with the CCG and have already achieved some media coverage. We will provide further updates shortly.

We need to take action now to put pressure on the CCG to reverse this shocking decision!

Listen Up! campaign update. Email your health commissioner now!

Liz Partridge, Campaigns Manager

Liz Partridge, Campaigns Manager

Email your health commissioner now and ask them to tell you what they are doing to ensure your child’s audiology service is good quality!

A couple of months ago we launched our Listen Up! campaign in response to an NHS report that revealed that one-third of children’s audiology services failed deaf children. We called on you to take action and email your MP to ask them what they were going to do to help ensure that all deaf children receive a good quality audiology service.

I would like to say a massive thank you to the many of you that took action. As a result of your action we secured a meeting with the Health Minister Dr Daniel Poulter and he has agreed to investigate further.

However our work is not done! It is important we continue to take action because we know that one-third of children’s audiology services failed deaf children and despite this the Government stopped inspecting these services. This means we have a very little idea of how children’s audiology services are doing now, leaving many families in the dark about how good or bad their child’s audiology service is.

Listen Up! campaign logo

So we need to keep the momentum going – please take action now and email your local health commissioner to find out more about the quality of your child’s audiology service.

You can also find out more about the campaign and don’t forget you can join our Campaigns Network to be kept regularly up-to-date!

Further updates will be coming your way soon so please keep an eye out and continue to take action to ensure all deaf children and young people receive a good quality audiology service.

Thank you.