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

Information and advice in Easy Read

Information and advice in BSL

 

Information and advice in community languages

 

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 ‘vulnerable’ 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
  • Barristers at 39 Essex Chambers have recorded a webinar explaining key changes in the law which will have an impact on Disabled people.  The Webinar covers the Coronavirus Act and what it means for education, social care and mental health. It is available here.

Welfare benefits

Key announcements that impact Disabled people

  • Face to face benefits assessments are cancelled at least for 3 months since 17th of March 2020 official announcement
  • People receiving benefits do not have to attend jobcentre appointments for three months, starting from Thursday 19 March 2020.  
  • Reviews and reassessments for disability benefits are suspended for 3 months from the 25th of March 2020 official announcement
  • 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
  • Rightsnet – publishes daily Social welfare law updates in relation to Coronavirus, this includes details of the Government £500 million hardship fund which will provide council tax relief for vulnerable households: https://www.rightsnet.org.uk/covid19

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.

Social Care

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

On 21 April the Government issued Guidance for People Receiving Direct Payments.

  • If you have problems with getting personal protective equipment use Inclusion London’s template letter here.  
  • In Control has set up a web page on its Be Human initiative, which links to local facebook Coronavirus support groups; webinars on a range of issues for Direct Payments users; resources and template letters all created by Disabled People’s Groups: 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

Hate Crime

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 eliana.riccardi@respond.org.uk   ​https://respond.org.uk/what-we-do/

Housing

Shelter has information and advice on Housing rights  and coronavirus including eviction, rent payment problems, benefits, monving 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.

Where to find legal advice

We put together a list of solicitors specialising in Disabled people’s rights. It can be found here.

Fry Law is also organising weekly online sessions that will offer disability rights advice on issues arising from the COVID-19 crisis, featuring advice from Fry Law’s Chris Fry and equality and human rights barrister Cathy Casserley, from Cloisters Chambers. Click on the link above to find out more. The online sessions will take place between 6pm and 7pm every Thursday.

Wellbeing and bereavement information

Wellbeing, mental health and bereavement information collated by the Greater London Authority (GLA) about wellbeing and bereavement support services.

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.