What we asked for

  1. Disability Living Allowance (DLA)/Personal Independence Payment (PIP) should be there to support people with a learning disability with the extra costs they face. The system must work effectively.
  2. That the Work Capability Assessment for Employment Support Allowance (ESA) must be changed. It must better understand the barriers faced by people with a learning disability.
  3. That the benefits sanctions regime is unfair to people with a learning disability and traps them in poverty. Their benefits must not be taken away unfairly. What is asked of people with a learning  disability must be reasonable, with support provided.

Key statistics

  • There are over 400,000 people with a ‘learning difficulty’ claiming Disability Living Allowance (DLA) in the UK. By 2018 the Government has estimated that 600,000 fewer people will get Personal Independence Payment (PIP) than under DLA.
  • During the first 3 months of 2014, people on Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) were over 4 times more likely to be sanctioned than in the same period in 2013.
  • In 2013 the Government spent £66m on Work Capability Assessment (WCA) appeals.
  • Approximately 8 out of 10 working age people with a learning disability have a mild or moderate learning disability and could work, but less than 2 in 10 are in employment. 

Denise's story

Hear about Denise's experience of claiming benefits.

Hear from Denise

I can work and I want to work, but nobody will give me a chance anymore. I am on Jobseekers’ Allowance.

My name is Denise. I have a learning disability and mental health problems. I also have a little one - Kyle is six. I can work and I want to work, but nobody will give me a chance anymore. I am on Jobseekers’ Allowance.

I had a job at a school for deaf kids before I had Kyle. I was there for four years. I also worked at a crèche where I did my NVQ 1 and 2 in childcare. Since I left to have Kyle nobody ever calls me back.

I really want to work - I get so bored! The benefits I get aren’t enough but my learning disability puts off employers and even more now that I am also a mum.

A few months ago I signed something I shouldn’t have and I lost half my benefits. I didn’t understand what I was doing - nobody explained it to me properly. I was lucky because Dave, my support worker explained it all to me. He helped me to apply to get my benefits back and he also helps me to use the computer to look for different jobs, which I find really hard.

Even though I always tell people about my learning disability, I don’t think they get me right. It’s just like talking to a brick wall.

As Kyle gets older he needs more and more things that I can’t afford.

It’s hard for me to make sure I’m getting the right benefits and it’s also really hard to apply for jobs without help. I want to get a job and earn money so my little boy doesn’t have to suffer.

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