We know that the government’s changes to work-related benefits are hitting people with MS hard. As you may know, as a small charity the MS Trust restricts the government policy work we do specifically to health issues.
We believe that everyone with MS is entitled to a full life, even if we don’t have the capacity to work in all areas. Around work-related benefits, we support the work of the Disability Benefits Consortium, who have far more expertise than we do. They issued a press release on 28 November around Fitness to Work assessments, which included the following statement:
“The fit to work test is failing disabled people, with devastating consequences. Wrong decisions can mean people are left with little or no support at all, in some cases struggling to pay for their homes and basic essentials like food and heating. Significant changes need to be made urgently to stop disabled people suffering at the hands of the process as it currently stands. The test has to be more than a box-ticking approach and properly recognise the barriers many disabled people face in getting and staying in work”
As its objectives, the Disability Benefit Consortium states that it is committed to achieving a benefit system that:
- Is built on the rights of disabled people;
- Is informed by the needs and experiences of all disabled people;
- Is fair in its design and administration;
- Is transparent and accountable;
- Supports disabled people to meet the extra costs associated with disability;
- Reflects the reality of the challenges faced by disabled people seeking work;
- Recognises the individual needs of all disabled people (regardless of factors such as impairment and age);
- Contributes towards tackling disability poverty and interacts with other government measures to achieve this;
- Tackles misunderstanding about disability and the support disabled people may need from the benefit system.
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