Resources for DDPOs providing advice to individuals
Key information on Disabled people’s rights, entitlements and sources of support
This page contains links and a range of information about Deaf and Disabled people’s rights, entitlements and sources of support during the Coronavirus emergency. We know some of you have already highlighted a number of these resources on your websites but you may find some additional information below.
As well as this general information, we also recommend that you include on your websites any support on offer in your Local Authority areas, as many Deaf and Disabled people will need to call upon local provision. Please also make sure your DDPO is included in this local provision and that your local council and others have up to date information about how people can access your services during this time.
General information about Coronavirus and the government’s policy
- For official information and guidance from the Government visit the dedicated section on the GOV.UK website
- Public Health England also have a Coronavirus information page including information on testing and tiers.
- Rules for wearing face coverings – update from the Home Office Hate Crime Team – July 2020
- The Guidance for people who are clinically extremely vulnerable to Coronavirus. If you are in this category, you can now register online for support with shopping, accessing medication etc. To register use this website: https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus-shielding-support
- New information (December 2020) on the UK Covid-19 Vaccination programme from Public Health England
Information and advice in Easy Read
- Public Health England have information in Easy Read available on their Alternative Formats page
- Easy Read online have published Advice About Coronavirus
- NHS Southern Health have Easy Read leaflets that can be downloaded
- Keep Safe UK have Easy Read posters that can be downloaded
- Hands – Face – Space Easy Read guidance from Action on Disability
Information and advice in BSL
- BSL information about coronavirus from Signhealth BSL information
- Public Health England have information in BSL on their Alternative Formats page
- NEW: Free remote BSL interpreting service BSL Health Access.co.uk has been launched by SignHealth on 16 April. The service will provide free online BSL interpreters to support Deaf people in health settings during the Coronavirus crisis.
- Royal Association for Deaf People have a You Tube channel giving daily updates and advice
Information and advice in community languages
- Key information and advice about Covid-19 in over 15 different languages. From the London Mayor’s office and Doctors of the World.
Information about specific issues
- Citizens Advice has a dedicated Coronavirus page with information about key areas of life that are affected, including money, benefits, work, housing, etc. The page is updated regularly. Visit CAB page.
- Also here is the link to very specific Citizens Advice re: claiming Universal Credit which includes a link to the availability of webchat for different subjects which may be helpful https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/about-us/contact-us/contact-us/help-to-claim/
- Citizens Advice also have information if you’re worried about returning to work, for example if you have a health condition which means you are clinically ‘vulnerable’ to coronavirus https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/coronavirus-if-youre-worried-about-working/
- Disability Rights UK has a dedicated page with up to date information and links to government and other guidance on a range of subjects including benefits, education, human rights, and social care. They have also included a range of template complaint letters and legal resources for you to use: DRUK website
Key announcements that impact Disabled people
- Face to face benefits assessments are suspended and replaced with phone or paper based assessments See official announcement
- Reviews and reassessments for disability benefits are largely suspended, but are restarting. Therefore if a person receives paperwork for a review or reassessment, they should follow usual process.
- Face to face appointments at Jobcentre Plus are suspended, Claimants do not have to attend, unless are asked in exceptional circumstances. All other appointments will be done by telephone. Claimants have to comply with their claimant commitment.
- New-style employment and support allowance (NSESA) can now be claimed online from 20 April – NSESA may be claimed if you are ill or have a health condition or disability that limits your ability to work. NSESA is a fortnightly payment that can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit. It is a contributory benefit. Normally, this means you may be able to get it if you’ve paid or been credited with enough National Insurance contributions in the two full tax years before the year you’re claiming in. To find out if you’re eligible and to make a claim visit gov.uk
Sources of information:
- Find up to date information on claiming benefits during this period on the Department for Work and Pensions website
- The Government’s has published guidance on Statutory Sick Pay, job centre appointments, health assessment appointments, changes to Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits, Local Housing Allowances and Housing Benefit. See the Guidance
- The Public Law Project also produces a wealth of information to help you support your clients with their Universal Credit claims and in particular the ‘Claimant Commitment’. You can find more information here: Universal Credit: Sanctions and your claimant commitment – Public Law Project | Microsite (claimantcommitments.org.uk)
- Rightsnet publishes daily Social welfare law updates in relation to Coronavirus https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/news-and-caselaw
We suggest you all contact your own Local Authorities to find out how they will operate the hardship fund so you can put this on your websites too.
The Coronavirus Act has significantly changed the legal framework for social care provision. You can find the Inclusion London briefing outlining key changes here.
The Department of Health and Social Care has published Care Act easements guidance for Local Authorities detailing how the new regime should work. Read The guidance
No local authority is implementing the Care Act changes, therefore normal Care Act regime should apply. You can read about how it should work on our website https://www.disabilityjustice.org.uk/take-action/social-care/
Useful documents, templates and guidance for those on Direct Payments
- Government’s Guidance for People Receiving Direct Payments.
- Skills for Care Information Hub has a range or practical information on how to access testing, PPE essential training, flu jabs etc for your PAs https://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Employing-your-own-care-and-support/Working-as-a-personal-assistant/COVID-19-personal-assistants.aspx
- If you have problems with getting personal protective equipment use Inclusion London’s template letter here.
- Be Human website contains a range of practical information, templates and other materials for people who are on direct payments. This includes information about testing, contingency planning, employment issues etc. https://be-human.org.uk/coronaheroes/
- Disabled people have also developed template documents which could be used by those who employ their own Personal Assistants Resources and templates for DP users
- Knowsley Disability Concern and RUILS a DDPO in Richmond have developed specific advice and guidance for people using Direct Payments (DP) during the Coronavirus crisis. Read Knowsley guidance here and RUILS guidance for employers of personal assistants here.
Human Rights Law
Human Rights law becomes more important than ever especially in the contexts of social care and access to emergency help. Read our guide on the Human Rights Act and Disabled people to understand more here
It will be important to continue to promote the support available to Deaf and Disabled people who are victims of hate crime. Inclusion London have produced a guide on supporting victims of hate crime. The guide and template letters available here
- The government’s page on domestic abuse includes links to organisations that can help and advice for advocates. See website
- Victim support are providing a live chat service: 24/7 Supportline: 08 08 16 89 111 and online My Support Space for victims of crime including domestic abuse.
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) victim and witness services. Information on accessing victim and witness support services. This guidance has been issued by the UK Government who recognise that accessing Victim and Witness Services has been challenging during COVID19.
- Respond Advocacy and Support for Young Women with Autism or Learning Disabilities-Gender Based Violence Service. Respond is a charity that supports adults and children with learning disabilities and/or autism who have experienced abuse and trauma, mainly through psychotherapy, advocacy and campaigning. As part of the ISVA service, there is a Young Women’s Specialist Advocate to support young women and girls (age 13 to 25) with learning disabilities or autism (or both) who are victims/survivors of gender-based violence. Due to the current Covid-19 crisis, Respond launched an online chat service to support young women from 18 to 25 (who have a LD, ASD or both). The chat is for any young women at risk of violence, feel isolated or just want to reach out to someone about their concerns. This service will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 4pm. For more information or to refer: Contact Eliana Riccardi, Young Women’s Specialist Advocate M: 07599673249 firstname.lastname@example.org https://respond.org.uk/what-we-do/
Shelter has information and advice on Housing rights and coronavirus including eviction, rent payment problems, benefits, moving home, mortgage arrears, repossession and landlord access to your home. Shelter’s website
The Equality Act
The Equality Act duties have not changed. If you have problems accessing goods and services see our guides and template letters here
Fry Law has a raft of template letters which people may wish to use during the Coronavirus crisis, including complaint letters to supermarkets, designed to provide priority access for disabled people. These can be downloaded for free at www.frylaw.co.uk.
Funding and financial hardship
Where to find legal advice
We put together a list of solicitors specialising in Disabled people’s rights. It can be found here.
Wellbeing and bereavement information
Every Mind Matters campaign to support mental health during the Covid-19 outbreak
The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak means that life is changing for all of us for a while. It may cause you to feel anxious, stressed, worried, sad, bored, lonely or frustrated.
There are some simple things you can do to help you take care of your mental health and wellbeing during times of uncertainty. Doing so will help you think clearly, and make sure you can look after yourself and those you care about. The NHS website Every Mind Matters have practical tips to help you look after your mental health and wellbeing.