Last week, Craig Mackinlay MP accepted an invitation from Headway East Kent - a charity that supports people who have an acquired brain injury - and visited their Day Centre in Meeting Street, Ramsgate.
While at the Day Centre Craig met Headway’s Facilitator, Shelly Christie, as well as the charity’s various clients, who flagged with the South Thanet MP the problems some people with brain injuries experience while applying and being assessed for welfare benefits.
“It is clear that individuals with acquired brain injuries face certain challenges in the application and assessment process for benefits.
“Some special provisions have been put in place to support individuals with these conditions in making a claim. For example, claimants for both Employment and Support Allowance and Personal Independence Payment with mental, intellectual and cognitive impairments, who do not return their claim form are referred directly to the assessment provider for a face-to-face consultation, rather than ending their claim. Individuals may also bring a relative, carer or friend to the assessment.
“However it is clear that this system does not always work with poor decisions by the assessors leading to unduly stressful and costly Tribunal hearings.
“We must ensure that improving the Work Capability Assessment for people with such conditions is a central focus for Ministers at the Department for Work and Pensions.”