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Impact of The Welfare Reforms on Brain Injury Clients

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Individuals who suffer from serious brain injury often find that, following their injury, they need help in the form of welfare benefits.

The Government, in what it terms its “deficit reduction strategy”, has brought in welfare reforms which cause serious concern as to the eligibility to claim for benefits by those who suffer from brain injury. 

Headway - the Brain Injury Association, has voiced its concerns in relation to the Personal Independent Payment (PIP) benefit which will replace Disability Living Allowance (DLA).  The Chief Executive of Headway, Peter McCabe, has said:

“We are hugely concerned about the implications of the change from DLA to PIP.  …… Rather than empowering people to return to work, Welfare changes that have already been introduced, such as the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), are causing stress and anxiety among genuine claimants.  Regular assessments for people who claim PIP can only be deemed appropriate if the tests are sound and accurate.  We are hugely concerned and surprised that ATOS, a firm with a track record of failing to understand complex and often hidden conditions, has been awarded a contract to carry out PIP assessments”.

As set out by Peter McCabe, there were, even before the recent reforms, significant problems in assessments for Employment and Support Allowance (ESA).  The assessments often centred on simple physical tasks, rather than the complex difficulties experienced by those who have suffered brain injury. 

Though those who suffer brain injury, experience a wide range of problems including:

  • Behaviour and personality - including anxiety, depression, loss of motivation, anger
  • Cognitive - including problems with memory, attention and concentration, low tolerance of noise and stress
  • Physical - including loss of co-ordination, epilepsy, speech problems, loss of smell and taste, fatigue, sexual problems

Sometimes these problems are subtle or only obvious to those who are experienced in brain injury.   It is often a combination of these factors which is so difficult or even devastating for day-to-day functioning and can make it so difficult to work in any capacity.

We at hlw Keeble Hawson Solicitors (members of the Headway Personal Injury Solicitors List), share the concerns about the welfare changes and how they impact on individuals with brain injury.  Our lawyers specialising in brain injury are familiar and empathetic with the challenges and stresses which our clients suffer.  So far as we can, we help our clients to reduce financial stresses by arranging for specialist advice with regard to welfare benefits and pressing for early payments on account of compensation where possible.

If you wish to speak to one of our specialist lawyers, please contact Mark Hollinghurst on 01302 380223 or Aisha Ahmed 01302 308694.

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