Stephen has lent his support to 80 charities calling for better support for disabled people during an event in Parliament for the report “Has welfare became unfair? The impact of changes on disabled people.”
The Disability Benefit Consortium (DBC), which represents 80 national disability organisations, found that changes to the welfare system over the past ten years have left disabled people financially four times worse off than non-disabled people. They found that while many people have experienced cuts to their benefits, disabled people have lost on average payments of around £1,200 each year because of changes to the system, compared to an average of £300 for people without a disability.
The research also found that:
The more disabilities you have the more you lose out, for example someone who has six or more disabilities loses over £2,100 each year on average, whereas someone with one disability loses around £700 each year.
Households with one disabled adult and one disabled child lose out the most, with average losses of over £4,300 per year.
At the reception, Stephen heard from speakers about some of the issues, including people saying that they did not feel trusted, that they are constantly being challenged and that their word is doubted.
Speaking afterwards, Stephen said “It is shocking that disabled people are losing out on vital support because of a system that is meant to protect them. The impact on their health and wellbeing has been highly destructive and in many cases, made their condition worse.
“These changes cannot continue to drive some of the most vulnerable people in East Ham and across the UK into poverty. That’s why I am supporting the recommendations from the DBC for urgent reform.”
Michael Griffin, Research Lead for DBC and Senior Policy Adviser for Parkinson’s UK said: “Thank you to Stephen for showing his support at the launch event today.
For the first time, our research has shown just how much disabled people are bearing the brunt of the disastrous changes to welfare. This is simply disgraceful and cannot be allowed to continue. The Government must make urgent improvements to the application processes and assessment criteria, and resolve the flaws in Universal Credit before more people are denied the support they desperately need to live independently.”