Headway – the brain injury association supports the work of Pat’s Petition in highlighting the damaging impact the current programme of welfare reform is having on disabled people and their families and carers.
Every day, the charity, which supports people affected by brain injury, receives calls to its helpline from people desperate for support, fearful of how they will continue to live independent lives in the face of cuts to their existing benefits. Many of these callers report receiving poor treatment during the claims process for key disability benefits such as ESA and DLA. Despite the attempts to improve the ESA claims process and the Work Capability Assessment, we are still hearing of people stuck in a distressing cycle of failed applications, successful appeals then reassessment just a few months later.
Headway is also very concerned about the upcoming change of DLA to Personal Independence Payment, which has undergone a lengthy consultation period but still seems set to take essential support away from genuine claimants. The further award of assessment contracts to companies with track records of a failure to understand complex and often hidden conditions, such as ATOS, is extremely worrying.
Headway has made repeated attempts to ask the coalition government to stop and rethink its damaging programme of welfare reforms. The charity has joined hundreds of other organisations across the UK in providing evidence to show the negative impact the current reforms are having on disabled people. It is with deep regret that these warnings continue to be unheeded.
Headway offers its support to the Pat’s Petition team in its call for a Cumulative Impact Assessment. In addition, the charity calls upon the Labour party to support this initiative and demonstrate its commitment to protecting the ability of disabled people in the UK to lead independent lives.