We've just launched our new Right First Time campaign, calling on the government to bring in changes to the disability benefits assessments which currently fail a large number of brain injury survivors and their families.
Using your feedback from our survey, we found that:
- The system largely focused on the physical impact of having a disability, neglecting other elements of disabilities.
- 76% and 77% of respondents felt that it was difficult to explain the effects of brain injury on the application form for ESA and PIP, respectively.
- Assessors were found to be lacking in this specialist knowledge. 71% and 60% of respondents felt that the assessor for ESA and PIP, respectively, did not have an understanding of brain injury.
- Assessors were widely reported to lack empathy and patience.
- A significant number of respondents commented on the fact that their medical evidence was not taken into consideration, and that the assessment environment was not suitable for them.
Based on our findings, 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 recording of the face-to-face assessment. They should not have to make special arrangements or provide their own recording equipment for this.
You can find out more about the campaign and read the full results of our survey at: headway.org.uk/get-involved...
We'd really value your support, so please comment and share our materials as widely as possible!