- 2018 National Disabled Members' Conference
- 6 July 2018
- Carried as Amended
The application processes on which we rely are rapidly moving to online platforms. For example, applications for Council Tax support, housing benefit, access to work, and Universal Credit. Conversely, Personal Independence Payments (PIP) can only be applied for using a paper form, with no online option available.
Some disabled people use assistive technology, which is a term that describes tools used by people with disabilities to access and complete everyday tasks. They can include screen readers, text readers, speech input software, and alternatives to standard keyboards.
For many, the online process has simplified the task from filling in a paper application form, but for those who rely on assistive technology they can find that their local assistive software does not interact well with the online form, in short the systems are incompatible.
But even people who do not rely on assistive technology can find the forms daunting, and the questions intrusive.
Conference further notes that Black disabled people are often particularly impacted by digital exclusion. Low paid Black disabled workers and those on zero hours contracts or doing manual or shift work may not have the financial resources to invest in digital technology at home and may not have access at work either. With libraries facing cuts, often the only option is a costly internet cafe.
Although the government claims there is some assistance available to complete Universal Credit online applications through the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), in reality this amounts to little more than explaining to applicants that they need to complete an online form.
Conference calls on the National Disabled Members Committee to:
1)Compile and maintain a list of organisations including Black community organisations and their contact details, which can offer telephone or videophone and video relay services support to disabled people to complete online application forms.
2) Compile and maintain a list of organisations including Black community organisations and their contact details, which can give face to face advice and support to disabled people to complete online application forms.
3) Lobby the DWP to invest in genuine support for disabled people completing Universal Credit online applications.
4) Campaign for alternative methods to online applications as a reasonable adjustment and for the option of online PIP applications.
5) Campaign for public service agencies to provide the option of BSL translations of online and paper forms.
6) Work with all appropriate internal and external bodies to campaign for all benefit application forms to be accessible, whether online or as printed off/hard copy documents.