Disability Advice Project (DAP) responded to a call for evidence by the UK Government’s Welsh Affairs Committee about the benefits system in Wales.
DAP is calling for a system that is less complex, faster, and easier to access. In the last 18 months DAP has helped almost 500 disabled people in Gwent by compiling evidence to support benefit claims and to appeal wrongful decisions.
DAP’s key findings are:
- DAP has seen more disabled people being made redundant during the Covid-19 pandemic than at any point on record at the charity. Joblessness in entire families has risen significantly. Wales has the highest proportion of disabled people in the UK, at 26% (Disability Wales). A major challenge is tackling inequality and exclusion.
- Many access to work schemes are unrealistic, as they fail to offer suitable opportunities, or the flexibility needed for disabled people and other family members who care for them.
- The benefits system has failed to keep up with the increase in living costs, especially housing costs. As the cost-of-living increases and local authorities make cuts, allowances and grants are failing to keep up.
- People with disabilities face significant delays in accessing allowances and grants. More resources are needed to ensure these get to the people that need them when they need them.
- People with disabilities are being left for too long in unsuitable homes because of problems with councils’ Disabled Facilities Grants processes. The process of applying for and receiving a grant is often hampered by delays and inappropriate advice. Due to the increased cost of building works and materials the cap of £36,000 on Disabled Facilities Grants in Wales is too low.