At Deafblind UK we believe that people with a sight and hearing loss should have equal rights, access and opportunities. We work towards this objective by promoting and supporting public policies that increase and improve disabled people’s access to information, as well as supporting the development of services that do this.
We campaign on the issues that matter to our members. Whether campaigning in partnership with other disability organisations, or as a single organisation – we work to make a difference for our members.
Our recent campaigns have focused on three key areas: Welfare Reform, Health and Social Care.
The coalition government launched a wide-ranging programme of Welfare Reforms aiming to cut welfare budget costs.
Deafblind UK is involved in the Hardest Hit Campaign – a partnership sending a clear message to government to end cuts to benefits and services that will deeply affect disabled people, those with long term conditions and their families.
We have responded to a number of consultations on the reforms, seeking to ensure that deafblind people do not experience unfair reduction in benefits, including:
- Personal Independence Payments (PIP) consultations, including ‘Assessment Thresholds’, ‘Eligibility for a Blue Badge’ and ‘PIP – Completing the Detailed Design’. The PIP replaced the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), a move Deafblind UK opposed, advocating against the intention to reduce the number of eligible disabled claimants, including deafblind people. As it proved impossible to prevent introduction of PIP, our responses have since sought to: reduce the impact of the change from DLA for deafblind people; ensure that deafblind people have at least the same eligibility to PIP as DLA; minimise financial loss; ensure eligibility descriptors clearly cover deafblind claimant needs; and ensure that passport benefits of DLA such as Blue Badges are not lost by deafblind people.
- Housing Benefit Reforms, particularly the ‘Supporting Housing’ consultation. In partnership with other organisations we advocated for deafblind people to maintain their independence, choice and control regarding where they live. We joined over 70 organisations in an open letter to MP’s to ask for a continued ‘Bedroom Tax’ compromise, where social housing tenants would not be penalised for having an extra bedroom if smaller properties were not available. As two thirds of under-occupied households include a disabled family member, deafblind people would either need to find extra money to live in their homes or face moving to an unfamiliar property. For a deafblind person this can have a major impact on their independence and quality of life.
- The Universal Credit and Related Regulations: Call for Evidence. Deafblind UK is concerned that the aim for all benefit claims to be made online will reduce the number of deafblind claimants. Many deafblind people have no access to a computer or the internet, so will not have an equal opportunity to apply for Universal Credit. Find out more about our digital inclusion project.
We do a lot of work around health, including responding to health consultations, because we understand that access to health information and healthcare is essential to the wellbeing of our members.
Our awareness talks in particular seek to promote and ensure that deafblind people have equality of access to health information and care. Across the UK we provide basic deafblind awareness sessions to health care professionals that enable attendees to recognise deafblind patients and offer appropriate support. These informative sessions include practical exercises to encourage development of accessible information, communication and guiding skills. We regularly hear how NHS staff feel more confident and able to meet deafblind patients needs following these sessions.
Deafblind UK aims to influence social care policy and guidance to ensure equality for all and enable deafblind people to retain their independence, control and dignity (and access the adequate funding to do so).
A key current aspect is the draft Care and Support Bill.
This will simplify complex adult social care legislation, which can prevent deafblind people from accessing the appropriate care and support.
We seek to ensure that legislation will meet deafblind people’s needs and protect specialist deafblind assessments.
If you would like further information please contact the Campaigns Department by telephone on 01733 358100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org