CHOICES AND RIGHTS DISABILITY COALITION (CARDC)

 COVID 19 UPDATE  WE ARE OPEN BUT HOME WORKING

As an organisation run and managed by disabled people, a number of our staff are classed as ‘vulnerable people who live with underlying health conditions’.
Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we have taken the difficult but necessary decision to restrict access to our offices – The majority of our staff will work from home and we will continue to provide advice and support to disabled people, their families and statutory and voluntary organisation. If you need any help, information, or paperwork, wherever possible please email us at office@choicesandrights.org.uk or email the relevant staff member if you have their details. You can still phone our office (01482) 878778 but as there will only be a skeleton staff, it may take longer than usual to return your call. Please do not call into the office in order to protect you and our staff.
Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.

The government have now released guidance for people receiving direct payments. You can find this advice here . (published 21/04/20)

The Government are also extending Covid-19 Testing to included Personal assistants, you can find the government guidance about this here.

You can also find specific advice and guidance from your local authority: HULL CITY COUNCIL 

Easy read information about Covid- 19:If you or someone you know require easy read information about Covid- 19, including information about the lockdown, self isolation and how to stay safe then we recommend visiting click here

FAQs

Will Choices and Rights still provide direct payment support services?

Due to the current COVID-19 situation, we have taken the difficult but necessary decision to restrict access to our offices – The majority of our staff will work from home and we will continue to provide advice and support to disabled people, their families and statutory and voluntary organisation. If you need any help, information, or paperwork, wherever possible please email us at office@choicesandrights.org.uk or email the relevant staff member if you have their details. You can still phone our office (01482) 878778 but as there will only be a skeleton staff, it may take longer than usual to return your call. Please do not call into the office in order to protect you and our staff.
Thank you for your understanding at this difficult time.

Can I still come to the office to submit my paper work or seek advice?

No.
The Office is closed until further notice, but you can still get your information to us. We are all working remotely and still providing your direct payment. Email office@choiceandirghts.org.uk or telephone 01482878778

What do I tell my PA (s) to do during this time?

Assuming your PA employees are themselves fit and willing to attend work, they should carry on fulfilling their duties. It is essential that you and they take very seriously any new rules on health and safety procedures you implement based on government guidance. It is not just for their own protection but also to prevent the spread of infection to other people in the household, fellow colleagues and the public at large when leaving your home.

What should you do if you The NHS advises if you have symptoms of Coronavirus, you will need to self-isolate for 7 days.

The NHS advises if you have symptoms of Coronavirus, you will need to self-isolate for 7 days.

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
After 7 days:
If you do not have a high temperature, you do not need to self-isolate
If you still have a high temperature, keep self-isolating until your temperature returns to normal.
You do not need to self-isolate if you just have a cough after 7 days. A cough can last for several weeks after the infection has gone.
If you live with someone who has symptoms of Coronavirus.
If you live with someone who has symptoms, you’ll need to self-isolate for 14 days from the day their symptoms started. This is because it can take 14 days for symptoms to appear.
If more than 1 person at home has symptoms, self-isolate for 14 days from the day the first person started having symptoms.
If you get symptoms, self-isolate for 7 days from when your symptoms start, even if it means you are self-isolating for longer than 14 days.
If you do not get symptoms, you can stop self-isolating after 14 days.

what happens if the PA has symptoms?

Self-isolating employees are legally defined as being unfit to attend work. It’s important to stay at home and self-isolate if you are displaying symptoms.
Advice about staying at home on the NHS website.
If your Personal Assistant tells you they have symptoms of COVID-19 as described on NHS website, they should stay home or you can send them home. If they earn above the Lower Employment Limit (LEL) statutory sick pay would apply from day one.
If they don’t qualify, they can check GOV.UK to see if they can get financial support in the form Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance.
The statutory sick pay (SSP) regulations 2020 (coronavirus amendment) came into force Friday 13 March. SSP will now be payable to those self-isolating merely under Government guidance so there’s no need for formal written notice to be given by a medical officer.

If your PA doesn’t want to come to work without showing symptoms

If your PA chooses not to work and there’s no identified high risk then no pay other than authorised annual leave will be given as this is an unauthorised absence.

COVID-19 testing for personal assistants

Personal Assistants (PAs) are key workers and are currently eligible for testing if they have symptoms.
Your PA can apply for a test on GOV.UK. The test is available for key workers (your PA) who currently have symptoms of COVID-19, or who live with someone who has symptoms. If this criteria changes, this will be updated on the government website.
After the test your PA will receive a text or phone call with their results.

You can ask your PA to:
let you know when they are having the test
the result when they receive it

My Personal Assistant is currently unable to support me and meet my care needs. What can I do?

Call the office on 0482878778 / email office@choicesandrights.org.uk

Personal Assistants with Children

What if my Personal Assistant’s children need to stay at home and PA cannot support me?
The government has published a list of key workers including health and social care workers. PAs are defined as care workers, therefore key workers. This means your PAs children can continue to attend school. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision
The PA will need to contact their relevant school for further information.

Guidance on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for Personal Assistants’ (PA’s) and Family Members during the COVID-19 Outbreak.

Should we be using PPE?
Yes. If you or any member of your household is symptomatic or has a confirmed case of COVID-19, and your PA or others will be providing direct care, PPE is required. The PA as an essential worker will be eligible to receive PPE. Furthermore, if your PA normally receives PPE to support you, this should continue.

What PPE should my PA be using?

The following is a guide from Public Health England about how to use PPE during the Covid-19 Outbreak in a household setting.

Can I use my Direct Payment to buy PPE?

Call the office on 0482878778 / email office@choicesandrights.org.uk

Are the Local authorities able to supply PPE to Direct payment recipients?

Call the office on 0482878778 / email office@choicesandrights.org.uk

Can I use my direct payment funding in a more flexible way?

Call the office on 0482878778 / email office@choicesandrights.org.uk

I don’t want my PA to come to work as a family member can care for me as I feel that is less risky. Can I pay the family member instead of the PA?

Call the office on 0482878778 / email office@choicesandrights.org.uk

What is coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses. There are several known coronaviruses that infect people and usually only cause mild respiratory disease, such as the common cold. This coronavirus, first identified in Wuhan in China, is a new coronavirus that differs from these.
What’s the best way to prevent the spread of covid-19?
Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

 

Hull City Council

HULL CITY COUNCIL has launched a Hull Helpline (01482 300307) to support vulnerable residents impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The helpline has been set up for those who may have no other means of support and who may need help to access essential items and services including food, health and wellbeing and financial advice.
It is available seven days a week from 9am to 5pm. Residents should register their need for support through an online form which is now live on the council’s website hull.gov.uk or by calling the Hull Helpline number on 01482 300307.

 

Remember that you can follow find the latest advice from the NHS, WHO and Public health here:
Public Health – https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response
World Health Organization – https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
NHS – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

 

 

RECENT NEWS

Disability Rights UK E-Newsletter 03 July 2020

https://www.disabilityrightsuk.org/

 

Reintroduction of work conditionality and sanctions
Work and Pensions Secretary Thérèse Coffey has announced conditionality and benefit sanctions will be reintroduced this week as jobcentres in England start to reopen after lockdown, saying it was ‘essential’ claimant rules are reinstated.
Face-to-face meetings in jobcentres were suspended in March, in addition to suspending ‘claimant conditionality’ – a set of rules that require people to agree to carry out job search activities as a condition of claiming benefits.
DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler said “The decision to reintroduce conditionality and sanctions is appalling and one that DR UK strongly condemns. Quite simply, it must be reversed. It is a decision that has not been made without warning and with no consultation with any DWP stakeholder groups, let alone DPOs and other disability organisations.
There has been no research that finds that the conditionality and sanctions regime helps disabled people. Instead there is evidence that the DWP’s sanctions system has discriminated against disabled people for a decade. The Work and Pensions Committee of MPs concluded two years ago that not only is there no evidence that the DWP’s benefit conditionality sanctions system works but that ‘worse, it is harmful and counterproductive’.”
Read our reasons for strongly opposing this decision.
People who are currently shielding can no longer get SSP on that basis from 1 August 2020
The Minister for Disabled People Justin Tomlinson has announced that people who are currently ‘shielding’ due to being clinically extremely vulnerable as a result of the coronavirus outbreak will not be eligible for statutory sick pay (SSP) on that basis from 1 August 2020.
Mr. Tomlinson said that for those shielding, they will continue to remain eligible for SSP if they are unable to work and:
are required to self-isolate because they, or someone in their household, has symptoms of COVID-19; or
because they have been notified by the NHS or public health authorities that they have come into contact with someone who has coronavirus.
Read the full article on our website.
Work and Pensions Secretary told to urgently increase the financial support paid to unpaid carers
Carers UK and ninety two other charities, including DR UK, have today written a joint letter to Work and Pensions Secretary Therese Coffey calling for the urgent extra financial support to unpaid carers to ensure “they are supported during the coronavirus crisis and beyond”.
A copy of the letter has been sent to the Chancellor.
More than 6.5 million people in the UK provide unpaid care to disabled, and older people in our society. The support they provide is worth £132 billion a year is – equivalent to the annual cost of the NHS.
Read more and the letter in full on our website.
Video hearings to be made available for Social Security and Child Support Tribunals
The Justice Minister Chris Philip MP has announced that arrangements are being made to make video hearings available across all Social Security and Child Support Tribunal regions.
In response DR UK’s Welfare Rights and Policy Adviser Ken Butler said:
“It’s understandable that face-to-face appeal hearings are not currently possible due to the coronavirus pandemic. The news that video hearings are now to be possible for those appealing against social security decisions is very welcome.
But the informed choice as to whether an appeal is heard on paper, by telephone or by video must be that of the disabled person and not overridden by the tribunals service. Some people who experience severe social anxiety may prefer a telephone hearing. For many others, who say have a learning disability or a mental health issue or need the advice and support of a representative, telephone hearings can never be just or fair.
It is wrong for the tribunals service to dictate that in practice PIP video hearings are unavailable. Most PIP appeals are upheld due to the claimant’s own verbal evidence. It is discriminatory to deny someone the ability to effectively answer questions and present their case.”
Read the full article on our website.
50% of people in poverty live in a family where someone is disabled
The Social Metrics Commission has published its annual report on poverty in the UK. Among other things it shows that half of all people in poverty live in a family that includes a disabled person. Of these, 4 million are themselves disabled and another 3.2 million live in a family that includes someone else who is disabled.
Read the full report.
Mind’s five tests for the Government to ensure better mental health
The mental health charity Mind has researched some of the knock-on effects of the pandemic and has produced a report proposing five tests which it says the government must meet. These are designed to protect and improve the country’s mental health after coronavirus.
Many people are experiencing problems for the first time and those who were already struggling are finding things even harder. Mind argues that those in power can make the right choices to rebuild services and support to help make sure the society that comes after the pandemic is kinder, fairer and safer.
Mind’s five tests for putting mental health at the heart of the ‘new normal’ are:
1. Invest in community services
2. Protect those most at risk
3. Reform the Mental Health Act
4. Provide a financial safety net
5. Support children and young people
Join Mind’s campaign or find out more.
Changes to the law on EHCP needs assessments and plans due to COVID-19
On 1 May some aspects of the law on education, health and care (EHC) assessments and plans changed temporarily to give local authorities, health commissioning bodies and education bodies more flexibility in responding to the demands placed on them by COVID-19.
The government has now issued non-statutory guidance with a summary of these legislative changes. It also sets out the key implications for all those who play a part in the processes relating to EHC needs assessments and plans. The target audience for this guidance is:
families and parent carer forums
SEND Information, Advice and Support Services (SENDIASS)
local authorities and social care services
health commissioning bodies
early years providers, schools, colleges and other education settings
others who contribute advice and information to EHC needs assessments, such as educational psychologists and other health care professionals
mediation advisers
Download the guidance here, which also confirms which key elements of the processes over EHC needs assessments and plans are unchanged.
Relaxation of planning rules could lead to a shortage of accessible homes
Proposals from housing developers to relax planning rules would exacerbate the UK’s existing shortage of homes that are safe and suitable for older and disabled people, leading housing, ageing and disability charities warn.
By 2030, there will be just one new accessible home built for every 15 people over the age of 65, despite the fact that the UK is undergoing a massive demographic age shift. Looser planning rules would make this shortage more acute, the organisations say. The Housing Made for Everyone (HoME) coalition is calling on housing developers to build more homes suitable for all ages, with research showing that most people want to remain in their homes as they get older.
Disability Rights UK is part of the HoME coalition which sent an open letter to Housing Minister Christopher Pincher. The HoME coalition says that the coronavirus crisis has shone a light on the importance of people having homes that are suitable for their needs, with many having spent lock down stuck in houses that are inaccessible and therefore hazardous to their health and wellbeing.
Access to Work video guide
If the help you need at work is not covered by your employer making reasonable adjustments, you may be able to get help from the Access to Work scheme.
DR UK has collaborated with Diversity and Ability and Evenbreak to create a video guide to the Access to Work application process.
Watch the video.