Headway launches ‘Right First Time’ campaign
The Right First Time campaign is calling on the government to bring in changes to the disability benefit assessment which currently fail a large number of brain injury survivors and their families. We’d like to say a big thank you to our members who contributed their experience of the PIP and ESA assessment process in our survey. Your experiences and thoughts make a huge difference and have allowed us to gather information about the process of PIP & ESA applications, which Headway UK have submitted to the Work and Pensions Committee.
Sadly, Headway UK’s survey of over 650 brain injury survivors revealed that experiences in applying for benefits have been largely negative.
One member commented:
“It took three weeks to fill in the form, the questions were not specific to the challenges to changes in perception, fatigue, confusion.”
This figure was 76% for ESA and members commented that the assessors were found to be lacking in specialist knowledge. Assessors were also reported to lack empathy and patience, and medical evidence was often not taken into consideration.
What does this mean?
The Right First Time campaign is calling for :
- Specialist assessors are needed, who have an expert knowledge of complex conditions such as brain injury.
- To build more trust, we need a system for recording and confirming consideration of third-party evidence by assessors and decision makers.
- Applicants should be offered the option for an audio or visual record- ing of the face-to-face assessment. They should not have to make special arrangements or provide their own recording equipment for this.
Peter McCabe, Chief Executive of Headway UK, said:
“You cannot underestimate the hardship and deep distress that can be caused to brain injury survivors and their families who are incorrectly assessed for disability benefit…With help from the people we support, our Right First Time campaign highlights what the government should address to ensure brain injury survivors get the decision and support they deserve.”
Headway UK are hoping that the Right First Time campaign will encourage a thorough review of the PIP and ESA assessment system, resulting in better emotional and financial support for brain injury survivors.
Read more about the campaign here.