Disability Wales article, 16 November: How to Survive Five Problems Disabled People Face
Some situations we face can feel nightmarish. Yet simply knowing what to do can reduce your stress levels significantly, and help you to overcome what life throws at you. Well, over the last few months, several supporters have written in for advice about problems that they’re facing. So here’s a summary of some of the most pressing problems disabled people in Wales have got in touch with us about, as well as our recommendations. In our answers, we also refer to some very useful organisations in our network too.
Situation 1: A Tricky Employer
Q: ‘An employer would like to change my work days, and the changes will adversely affect me due to my condition. How do I challenge this?’
A: Luckily, the person involved had managed to get her working conditions written into her contract. That put her in a strong position to start with. However, we thought it best that she try the ‘Equality Advisory Support Service’ who are an excellent authority of employment law. If you are a member of a trade union, they can also provide legal advice, and represent you in disputes.
Situation 2: Independent Living
Q: ‘How can I help my disabled adult child live by themselves? She’s having trouble managing her money. Also while she can’t cook without assistance, she can’t get care as she has capacity.’
A: In this case, we recommended Dewis Centre for Independent Living. The centre helps disabled people to live independently, and they specifically mention setting up ‘managed bank accounts’. It can put people in touch with a host of helpful resources such as daily living aids that help with cooking.
Of course, this person lived only a little way from Dewis in Pontypool. Yet independent living centres are being developed for Flintshire and Carmarthenshire, which will extend their reach to more of Wales. See the Disability Wales website for further details of their opening in Spring 2017. At the time of writing, there is also De Gwynedd CIL in Porthmadog.
Situation 3: Appealing a Decision About PIP
Q: ‘Despite being a suitable candidate for the benefit, I suspect the DWP will turn me down for PIP (Personal Independence Payments). How do I go about appealing such a decision?’
A: The Citizen’s Advice Bureau will explain the process. In fact, they have a really useful section on their website for everything relating to the appeals process, and the link is here: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/wales/benefits/sick-or-disabled-people-and-carers/pip/
Situation 4: An Unhelpful Training Provider
Q: ‘A training venue refuses to provide adequate seating for me despite my condition, which makes it very painful to sit in the kinds of chairs that they have. I’m only asking for a slightly different type of seat. Is there anything that I can do?’
A: The Equalities Act 2010 states that providers of services including training have to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people. Asking for a slightly more comfortable seat is fairly reasonable. While the act prohibits failing to comply, it doesn’t make it a criminal offence, and so in the last resort, you would be looking at bringing a civil case against a training provider. Yet because you would have been discriminated against under the provisions of the Equalities Act, you could receive legal aid. Again, visiting the Citizen’s Advice Bureau would be a good place to start, and they can advise as to whether there’s an easier, lighter option to get what you need before bringing a case. Maybe you just need to inform them that they’re contravening the Act.
Situation 5: Impending Homelessness
Q: ‘Help! I’m facing homelessness. What do I do?’
A: Shelter Cymru is a great resource for keeping people in accommodation. However if you’re disabled, you might also find yourself placed in unsuitable housing as an emergency measure due to the lack of accessible housing stock available. As a result, we helped the person in this case by putting him in touch with Cardiff Accessible Homes who manages accessible housing in his area. There may be a similar relevant organisation in your part of Wales.
Get in Touch with Disability Wales
Are there any questions that you would like answered? We can’t promise to have an answer for everything, but if there’s a resource or organisation’s help that you need, we’re likely to know who to put you in contact with. Just contact us via our website, or Twitter or Facebook feeds.