Emily is 18 years-of-age and suffers with severe learning disabilities, autism and epilepsy.
Despite her obvious disabilities and how they would affect her ability to live an independent life, Emily is required to complete complicated assessment forms to help determine her eligibility to receive disability benefits.
In a personal blog, Emily’s mum says she was “staggered by the invasive and intrusive nature of the questions” included in the forms, especially considering how Emily’s “profound learning disability” clearly limits her ability to understand the questions asked.
A video included in the blog shows Emily’s mum going through the forms with her daughter. Emily instinctively answers “Yes” to each question, before being asked whether she actually understands the questions and some of the words used,.. to which Emily admits “No”.
Luckily for Emily she has a caring mum to guide her through the forms, but the same cannot be said for everyone making a claim for disability benefits.
There are of course a number of charities, organisations and support workers who can help complete benefit forms, but many of these have been forced to cut back on the services they provide due to reductions in funding.
Claimants can also turn to the Jobcentre for assistance. However, we’ve heard from so many readers who feel their claim was detrimentally affected by incompetent Jobcentre staff that we wouldn’t recommend it.
This single video exposes how disabled people, especially those with learning disabilities and hidden or fluctuating conditions, are being let down by the same benefits system which is meant to protect them.
And if you think completing these forms is a one-off, Emily will have to repeatedly prove she is disabled for the rest of her life. Emily will always be learning disabled – there is no miracle cure and it will never improve. How can subjecting Emily, and so many others in similar circumstances, to such degrading and dehumanising treatment be seen as ‘fair’ and justified?