Signature aims to make the benefit assessment process more accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people with our response to a government consultation, Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) Fourth Independent Review of Work Capability Assessments.
Work Capability Assessment (WCA) is the process people go through in order to determine whether they are eligible for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). Signature feels that it is important that this process is fully accessible for deaf and hard of hearing people. Our response makes a number of recommendations to improve accessibility of WCAs for them.
Signature’s main recommendations are:
- Deaf people should have access to reasonable adjustments, such as text relay, textphones and video relay services, to claim for ESA.
- Staff carrying out the WCA should have had Deaf Awareness training.
- All written correspondence on WCA should carry a plain English guarantee.
- Information on WCA should be available in British Sign Language.
Commenting on the consultation Signature chief executive, Jim Edwards, said, "Deaf people are twice as likely to be unemployed compared with the general population and often rely on benefits like ESA. It is vital that the assessment process is fully accessible to them. Putting in place reasonable adjustments will make sure they have the same level of service access as other applicants"..
The deadline for responses to the consultation is Tuesday 27 August. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity to improve the accessibility of the WCA process for deaf people.