The coronavirus outbreak has had a far-reaching impact on both a global and personal level. Some updates are made for people with disabilities. The picture changes daily and government guidance is moving quickly to address the needs of different members of society within the UK.
There have been some significant updates made, specifically regarding the needs of people with disabilities. However, with the announcement that the lockdown will continue for another three weeks, now is a critical moment to take a step back and assess how the needs of people with disabilities are being addressed.
What are the challenges they face as the crisis continues? And what you do to overcome them? Here is a look at some of the key developments and things to consider.
There are several ways that disabled people are being impacted by moves made by the government. A major one is changing to the benefits system that can be detrimental to the lives of people with disabilities and chronic illnesses. An update made to the weekly rate of universal credit in March. This does not apply to those on legacy benefits that pre-date universal credit. Such as employment and support allowance (ESA).
The Disability Benefits Consortium (DBC), the network of organisations that represent disabled people in the UK, wrote an open letter to Therese Coffey, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, calling for the government to consider this issue. These benefit changes mean that claimants will miss out on an increase in income worth more than £1,000 at a time when they need it most.
Those affected by these updates to the benefits system are facing financial difficulties unless the government makes some adjustments to the money that disabled people are entitled to during this crisis.
Critical care advice
Another issue that directly impacted upon disabled people in the UK was guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). NICE was threatened with legal action for advising doctors to score those with learning disabilities and other limiting conditions as high for frailty.
This original guidance meant that doctors could decide who would be denied treatment, based on their disabilities. NICE agreed that the guidance was incorrect and has since updated the rapid COVID-19 critical care guideline.
One of the key issues surrounding this is the implications this type of guidance has on the human rights of disabled people. To address COVID-19 and the rights of disabled people. An open letter was signed by almost 2,000 people and sent to NHS England.
Ensuring human rights are upheld during this difficult period is essential to make sure disabled people treated fairly.
Access to the essentials
With the country in lockdown, access to everyday essentials such as food and medication limited. The government created an online register designed to reach extremely vulnerable households in England. But because of the strict selection process. Many disabled people informed they are not eligible for the scheme.
According to the Guardian, 100 people with severe disabilities rejected for the register. And cannot get access to food unless they leave their home. Something they do not mean to do for 12 weeks based on government guidance to shielding.
For disabled people who are not shielding. It is possible to either order online or head to the nearest supermarket to join the queue. Getting there may require the use of an adapted vehicle. So it can be a case of getting into the modified car and going to the shops.
In the event, there is an issue with the car while motorists are driving to pick up essentials. It is possible to get advice. For example, the motoring company. Allied Fleet has postponed onsite demonstrations. But it is still providing information on existing vehicles. So it is still possible to get on the road and for disabled drivers to maintain independence during the lockdown.