Welfare Reform and Disabled People

Back to all Motions

2013 National Disabled Members' Conference
5 July 2013

Conference is concerned that the current changes to welfare reform are destroying the lives of disabled people.

Disabled people are twice more likely to live in poverty than other citizens, with roughly a third living in poverty at some point in their lives. This is unacceptable and avoidable, but will only get worse with the changes this Condem government are introducing. We want a welfare system that reduces red tape but does not limit opportunities or cuts money that disabled people need to live.

Major changes have already been introduced, such as Universal Credit, Personal Independence Payments and of course the Bedroom Tax. Premiums have been scrapped in means tested benefits; which enabled disabled people to meet the extra cost of being disabled.

Occupational Health Assessments are declaring people unfit for work whilst ATOS assessments are declaring that they are fit for work, or are able to seek employment. In many instances it is ATOS making both decisions.

We must fight back and say we have had enough; this conference needs to send a strong message to this government and any future government that we have no confidence in the changes that have been made or any future changes to the benefit system that has a detrimental effect on disabled people.

Conference therefore calls upon the NDMC working with relevant UNISON structures including the self organised groups to;

1)Write to the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions outlining our concerns and stating that we have no confidence in this government’s policy

2)Further ask that this action is publicised in relevant media/press to gain support to further UNISON’s campaign against welfare reforms

3)Work in alliance with other welfare reform campaigners calling on the government to provide more funding and support to help disabled people in work and entering into work by:

a)Continuing to meet the funding gap, year on year in social care, providing additional levels of financial welfare support for disabled people and disabled children through the revision and abolition of the negative impacts of the welfare reforms

b)maintaining additional support for the costs of childcare for families with disabled children

c)re-introducing the self-care addition to Universal Credit to replace the severe disability premium

d)funding disabled people with higher needs to be able to live independently

e)meeting extra costs that are not be covered by the Access to Work scheme

f)immediately abandoning the Work Capability Assessment

g)supporting disabled people who are found fully ‘fit for work’ but are at significant disadvantage in the workplace as a result of an impairment or health condition – allow them to undertake a period of work related activity, rather than immediately fall back into Job Seekers allowance

h)developing strong advocacy services for disabled people

i)halting the new ‘bedroom tax’ and housing benefits cap and making sure people are not forced to move if their home has been adapted for their needs

j)making sure local authorities understand the special housing payments for disabled children and disabled people understand who can claim special housing payments

k)cutting hate crime by showing positive images of disabled people and stopping disabled people being seen as scroungers or lazy