Disability

Question: Does anyone know of any disadvantages from registering disabled with RSI/WRUBLD please?

Answer: Registering as disabled is not the same as it used to be as the Disability Discrimination Act removed the green card registration system. The Disability Discrimination Act defines disability as ‘a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term effect on the ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities’. Long term is defined as expected to last twelve months or more and day-to-day activities includes manual dexterity and the ability to lift, carry or move ordinary objects.

It is here RSI sufferers can qualify. You can get an information pack (Pack DL50) on the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) from the DDA Information Line on 0345 622 633. They do lots of other useful leaflets too and they are all free. Anyone who had a green card registering them as disabled under the old legislation and held the card on 2/11/96 is automatically covered by the DDA for 3 years until 2/11/99. After then, the DDA requirements have to be met. Anyone whose disability is ‘substantial and permanent’ can register with their local authority (England and Wales only) and be added to the Social Services Disabled Register.

You contact the Area Office of your Social Services Dept and they usually arrange for you to be visited by a Social Worker or an Occupational Therapist (OT). They assess your needs and can arrange for gadgets to be provided to help with daily tasks. For example RSI sufferers can get electric tin openers, kettle tilters, tap turners etc. These are usually provided free. I was provided with a trolley to move heavy things around the house. Other steps you can take include: Claim Disability Living Allowance. It is tax free and not means tested. Most RSI sufferers qualify for at least the lower rate care allowance at?13.60 a week because of difficulty cooking meals.

You can get help filling in the forms from Citizens Advice Bureaux and local RSI Support Groups. I have yet to see an RSI sufferer refused this benefit in this area of the country. You can be awarded it for the rest of your life and the government has promised to honour these assessments, even if the rules change for new claimants. If your RSI is work-related claim Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. Again it is not means tested and is tax free. BUT it is a long haul and you may have to appeal to get benefit. Most claims are initially refused but most appeals are in my experience won.

In a recent appeal an RSI Support Group member had their disablement percentage increased from 10% to 25% at appeal. You need 14% to get benefit. Check if you qualify for a disability council tax reduction. If you do, your home’s band is charged at one lower than normal. You get the reduction if you need additional space because of your disability. I get it for the need to do regular exercises on the floor and for an additional bathroom with a spa bath to relieve the pain of RSI. If you work or want to work, get the Dept of Employment Disability Employment Adviser involved.

You contact them via your local job centre. They work as part of PACT (Placement, Assessment and Counselling Team) and can have your workplace assessed and recommend adaptations to make life easier. They can also help identify work which fits in with your disability. Funding for adaptations comes from their Access to Work programme. The employer pays the first?300 and then Access to Work pick up the rest. I’ve had a swivel chair, and voice recognition (Dragon Naturally Speaking) software from the scheme back in 1994 and this year a new PC.

In my experience employers take disability seriously when the Advisers get involved. Being registered disabled certainly helps with getting resources out of this scheme. A good book which is virtually the Disability Bible is published by the Disability Alliance ‘Disability Rights Handbook’. Contact 0171 247 8776 for more details. They sell it at a reduced price if you are getting any disability benefit from the DSS. It tells you everything you could ever want to know about disability.


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Disability — 1 Comment

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