Report: How welfare reform marginalises disabled people

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NeuralgicNeurotic

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http://www.inclusionscotland.org/attachments/article/13/IS%20welfare%20reform%20impacts%20guide.pdf


Key findings:

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Disabled people find the process of applying for benefits difficult and
distressing. A combination of past experience and the stories of their peers
mean that they hold little faith in their benefits applications being successful.
Application forms are difficult to complete and participants nearly always
required support from third sector organisations, council offices or advice
agencies. Participants also found it difficult to explain impairments or conditions
satisfactorily on application forms and during face-to-face assessment.



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Women who are survivors of sexual violence are being failed by the benefits
system. Their experiences of applying and being assessed for benefits can
re-ignite feelings of trauma, particularly when confronted with male assessors
or male dominated panels. 



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There has been a lack of consistent and reliable information about the
benefits changes, and this has led to confusion for disabled people who wish
to apply for benefits. Further, the onus has been on disabled people to go out
and find sources of information and support which can help. While some
organisations have been working to keep people informed and supported,
disabled people feel that the benefits system is a technical world they are
largely shut out of.



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More support is needed for disabled people who rely on the benefits system.
Staff at Job Centre Plus offices have little time for individual claimants, and may
not use the time they do have positively. Some participants reported Job Centre
staff openly using derogatory language to describe benefits claimants.



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The political and media rhetoric around the benefits changes is deeply
stigmatising and has left disabled people feeling isolated in their communities,
and increasingly vulnerable.



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The political and media rhetoric around the benefits changes is deeply
stigmatising and has left disabled people feeling isolated in their communities,
and increasingly vulnerable.



Quote
The majority of research participants feel negative about finding and staying in
work, and about their future prospects generally. Benefits changes are identified
as a cause of increasingly negative feelings.