The welfare system is designed to protect and support families with members with disabilities. However, benefits claimants have an inherent distrust of the system and are not claiming the benefits they are entitled to. Even when they complete their benefits claims, the assessment process is tainted by a high rate of decision awards overturned by judges.
Ahead of the International Day of People with Disabilities, we’d like to share some insights on the circumstances, financial situation and benefits available for people with disabilities. We also want to raise awareness of the barriers to access to disability benefits and how we are addressing this problem.
Households with a disability represent 20% of our total users, which is roughly the same as the 21% UK national average. As we might expect, the amount of the average benefit of households with a disability is significantly higher than households without (£1,200/month vs. £435/month). This is partially explained by the lower average income of households with a disability (£860 vs. £1,340), but even in similar income buckets, the average entitlement of households with a disability is between 1.8x and 3.8x higher.
The level of support that people with disabilities need is calculated with a 14-question assessment. This assessment evaluates how claimants perform basic day-to-day activities (e.g. preparing food, washing and bathing, or communicating) and how they get around. According to this questionnaire, the majority of our users need the maximum level of support to perform their day-to-day activities and to get around.
The average amount of our users’ disability benefits is £470/month, which represents 60% of their salary and 25% of their total income. However, households with a disability have a wide range of benefits available to them (e.g. Universal Credits, Council Tax Discount, Winter Fuel Payment) and our users’ average benefits entitlement is £1,077, which represents 1.3x of their salary and 57% of their total income.
Disability benefits claimants are confused and intimidated by the complex and unclear application process. Benefits claimants are not able to get an independent assessment of their benefit entitlement and they have to navigate through long application forms, face-to-face assessments, medical and physical examinations. This situation is compounded by the fact that benefits are one of their main sources of income, which increases the stress and anxiety levels of these households.
An independent review carried out by the Social Security Advisory Committee revealed that disability benefits claimants have an “inherent distrust” of the system due to the lack of transparency in the assessment process. This review also underlines that “there are high levels of disputed award decisions and 65% of those who appealed against rejected claims saw the decision overturned by judges”.
Our benefits calculator includes a questionnaire that helps benefits applicants to calculate the level of support that they need and the disability benefits they can receive. This questionnaire also includes examples and tips to help people to complete their application forms and face-to-face assessment.
The main benefits of our calculator for households with disabilities are:
Get in touch to explore how we can work together to make it easier for people to get their disability benefits.