Our Frequently Asked Question page has been put together to help answer some questions we often hear from Deaf and Disabled People we come in contact with. It is not an exhaustive list and we encourage people who use the page to send us questions that have not been answered here. We will do our best to answer your questions and continually add them to this page.
As a pan disability and inclusive organisation we will provide versions of this frequently asked questions page in alternative formats in due course – watch this space.
Finally, we have taken great care to ensure all the links that are on this page work but if for some reason some links are broken please contact us as soon as you can using our contact form on our website. The contact form can be accessed here
Please note: Camden Disability Action is not responsible for the content of any of the external publications or website links listed here. Every effort has been made to make sure that the summarised information is correct but this resource is for general information purposes only and is not intended to constitute legal or other professional advice.
Discrimination, Equality and the Law
Q – What is the Equality Act 2010 and how does it apply to Disability?
A – The Equality Act 2010 is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom. The main purpose of the Act is to combine the complicated (hard to understand) numerous Acts and Regulations which formed the basis of anti-discrimination law in Great Britain. This was, primarily, the Equal Pay Act 1970, the Sex Discrimination Act 1975, the Race Relations Act 1976, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and three major statutory instruments protecting discrimination in employment on grounds of religion or belief, sexual orientation and age. The Act requires equal treatment in access to employment as well as private and public services, regardless of the protected characteristics of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.
In the case of disability, employers and service providers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments to their workplaces and where they provide services to overcome barriers experienced by disabled people. In this regard, the Equality Act 2010 did not change the law.
Gov.UK the Government’s excellent website has given a simple guide to understanding the Equality Act 2010 which you can read here.
Q – What are ‘Reasonable Adjustments’ under the Equality Act 2010?
A – If an organisation provides any goods or services they are required by the Equality Act 2010 to make sure that Disabled People are able to use their services, as far as is reasonable, to the same standard as non-disabled people, by making reasonable adjustments.
They cannot wait until a disabled person wants to use their services, but must think in advance about what different Disabled People might reasonably need, such as People with Learning Difficulties, or people who have visual, hearing or mobility impairments.
Reasonable adjustments include things like:
- Installing a textphone so that people with hearing impairments can communicate with the organisation, or offering the alternative of instant messaging via the internet which also removes barriers to accessing the service for people who cannot, for a variety of reasons such as visual impairment or dyslexia, make notes during a phone call.
- Making sure that all written information is made available in alternative accessible formats like Easy Read – written in simple language, with pictures to illustrate what the text says – which will be more accessible to People with Learning Difficulties.
- Installing a ramp to the
organisationspremises to make them accessible to wheelchair users.
Q – How do I know if I have been discriminated against?
A – Unlawful discrimination, in other words, treating some people worse than others because of a protected characteristic under equality law can take a number of different forms:
Direct discrimination is where someone is treated worse than other people, for example where a charity refuses to accept someone as a service user because of their ethnic origin or disability.
Indirect discrimination is where a service or organisation does something to someone which has (or would have) a worse impact on them and other people who share a particular protected characteristic than on people who do not share that characteristic. Doing something’ can include making a decision, or applying a rule or way of doing things. This could include, for example, a service failing to provide alternative ways of communicating with them for people who cannot use the telephone.
But, in some situations treating people differently does not automatically mean that they have been discriminated against if the organisation can show that what they have done is objectively justified. For example, a service that is set up specifically to support Older People or people from a particular Faith community can justify not offering that service to other people as that is not what they are set up to do. Similarly, it would be justified for a service offering refuge for women experiencing domestic violence to exclude men from their service. If they were a general service, on the other hand, then excluding particular people because of their age, ethnic origin, disability, gender etc would be discrimination.
If you have experienced discrimination and you want to learn more about how you can use discrimination law to address your situation go to our directory where we have a list of services and organisations that can help you seek justice.
In addition Inclusion London and Disability Rights UK (two organisations we are members of) have produced excellent tools including letter templates you can use to challenge a range of discriminatory acts.
Use tools and templates on Inclusion London’s Disability Justice Project here.
Use tools and templates on Disability Rights UK’s The Right to Participate here.
Personal Budgets and Direct Payment
Q- What is a Personal Budget?
When your personal budget is paid directly to you this is called a Direct Payment. This allows you to have more control over your care as you can arrange services and providers that best meet your needs.
You can find more information about Personal Budget here.
Q- What are Direct Payments?
A- Direct payments are cash payments made to people who have been assessed as needing social care services from the Council. You can arrange your own services or support. You have more freedom, choice and control as you can decide how your needs are met and in a way that meets your needs.
If you already receive support from the council and would like to apply for
Q – Who can receive direct payments?
A- You can receive direct payments if you’re 16 or over, and assessed by the council as needing social care services.
People caring for someone (carers) who need social care may also be entitled to a direct payment in their own right.
Q – Why do I have to make contributions to my Direct Payment/Personal Budget from Benefits?
A – If you are a Disabled Person and receive state benefit, you are entitled to additional benefits to pay for items relating to your
Q- What Direct payment support can I get from Camden Disability Action
A – We don’t provide support directly to people who the Council provide Direct payments to however we know a great organisation in Camden who does and that organisation is called Personalisation Support in Camden (PSIC). PSIC is the organisation responsible for providing support for all service users who receive Direct Payments from Camden Social Services or who receive Personal Health Budgets from the local Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG). You can find details on how you can get them to support you by visiting their website here.
Personal Health Budgets for Continuing Care
Q- What are Personal Health Budgets?
A – A Personal Health Budget is an amount of money allocated to support your identified health and wellbeing needs. This is planned and agreed between you and your local NHS team. The aim is to give Disabled People and people with long-term health conditions greater choice and control over their healthcare and support.
PSIC can also provide support around personal health budgets, contact them here.
Q – How do I claim Benefits and which Benefits?
A – You can claim benefits from the Department of Work and Pensions. Please click here to find the list of benefits you can apply for. Camden Council can also provide benefits, you can find the list of help and support available here.
You can contact these organisations by telephone or find information online. You may also be able to get help with claiming benefits from the organisations listed in the directory page of our website.
Q – Does Camden Disability Action provide help for Deaf and Disabled people about Benefits they are entitled to?
A – Although we do not provide advocacy and advice services directly to clients, we help in so many other ways. For example, we provide support by signposting you to well researched information on a range of subjects.
We have put together a directory of organisations and services that are staffed by trained advisers and advocates – please check it out on the website.
We will take calls and investigate which support or help is appropriate to the caller (we will always tell you that we are not advisers and will only guide you to appropriate support) and finally we have arranged with a number of advice organisations/service to deliver (by appointments only) advice services to clients in our Greenwood place office. Find out about these advice services here.
Care and Support
Q – How do I get funding for my Care and Support?
A – You may be able to get funding from Camden Council’s Social Service or the NHS to fund your care and support. The NHS website has produced a summary on funding for care and support which you can find here.
Camden Council Social Services also have a page full of useful information that can be found on their website here. You may wish to call the Council on 020 7974 4444 and they will let you know if you qualify for funding for your care and support.
Q – How do I get an assessment from the Council?
A – If you want an assessment (read more about what an assessment is here) to find out what help and support you need, for example, healthcare, equipment, help in your home or residential care – you need to call the Council’s social services. They can be reached on 020 7974 4444 or visit their website here. They will tell you what you need to do next.
If the Council considers that you need support that it can provide, they may also carry out an assessment of your finances. For more information about what an assessment of your finances is read more here.
This assessment will determine whether the local authority will meet all the cost of your care, or whether you will need to contribute towards your care cost or whether you will have to meet the full costs yourself.
Making a complaint about social care or health services
If you’re not happy with the care or treatment you’ve received or you’ve been refused treatment for a condition, you have the right to complain, have your complaint investigated, and be given a full and prompt reply. The NHS Constitution explains your right, you can read about your rights here
The complaints document can be read here.
Most issues can be resolved without you having to make a formal complaint. Try having an informal chat with your doctor or a member of staff first. For example, if you have problems booking a GP appointment speak to the practice manager about it. If you are worried about something during your hospital outpatient appointment talk to one of the nurses or the clinic manager.
If this doesn’t solve your problem then you should make a formal complaint to your service provider. If you cannot make a complaint yourself, then you can ask someone else to do it for you.
However, if you are not comfortable about complaining to the service provider directly, or you are unhappy with their response, then you can make a complaint to the commissioner of the services.
If you are unhappy with the outcome of your complaint you can refer the matter to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, who is independent of the NHS and government. There is plenty of information on their website which you can read here.
You may also want to contact Healthwatch Camden to find out if they can help you go through the process, visit their website here.
Social Care Services
If you have a complaint about a private or voluntary care provider, the organisation to contact is the Care Quality Commission. Their website is a rich source of information and the page to need can be reached here.
If your complaint is about the Council’s social services, you can use the statutory complaints system. The Council should respond to your complaint within 20 working days. They will also inform you of how long your complaint is likely to take to investigate.
If you are not satisfied with the response you receive from them, you are entitled to ask the independent Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) to investigate. The Ombudsman can investigate complaints about local councils. Further information is available on the LGO website here.
Q – Where can I get advice about getting into employment?
A – You should ask to see a Disability Employment Adviser at your local Jobcentre. To find the jobcentre close to you please enter your postcode in the search box on the Department of Work and Pension website here. Your search result will direct you to your local jobcentre where an adviser will be able to help you find a job or gain new skills and tell you about disability friendly employers in your area. You can find more information about looking for work on the Gov.UK website here.
Q – What reasonable adjustments do employers have to make for Deaf and Disabled People?
A – Above we answered the question about reasonable adjustment obligations of service providers under the Equality Act, here employers also have a legal obligation for their Deaf and Disabled employees or potential employees.
The Equality Act 2010 recognises that bringing about equality for Disabled People may mean changing the way in which employment is structured, the removal of physical barriers and/or providing extra support for a disabled worker. This is the duty to make reasonable adjustments. This can include things like making changes to policies or practices to remove a barrier to disabled employees, offering flexible working or home working arrangements, making changes to the physical features of the workplace, or providing extra equipment someone to assist a disabled employee.
Employers are also required to make reasonable adjustments to recruitment processes to ensure Disabled People are not disadvantaged when applying for jobs.
The duty to make reasonable adjustments aims to make sure that, as far as is reasonable, a disabled worker has the same access to everything that is involved in doing and keeping a job as a non-disabled person, and that employers take proactive (thinking ahead before something becomes a problem) steps to remove or reduce or prevent the obstacles a disabled worker or job applicant faces.
In particular, the need to make adjustments for an individual worker:
- must not be a reason not to promote a worker if they are the best person for the job with the adjustments in place
- must not be a reason to dismiss a worker
- must be considered in relation to every aspect of a worker’s job
Many factors will be involved in deciding what adjustments to make and they will depend on individual circumstances. Different people will need different changes, even if they appear to have similar impairments. Most of the adjustments that employers will need to make will not be particularly expensive, and they are not required to do more than what is reasonable for them to do. What is reasonable depends, among other factors, on the size and nature of the organisation.
If, however, an employer does nothing, and a disabled worker can show that there were barriers that the employer should have identified and reasonable adjustments they could have made, they can bring a claim against the employer in the Employment Tribunal, who may order them to pay compensation as well as make the reasonable adjustments.
Q-who pays for reasonable adjustments
A- If something is a reasonable adjustment, the employer must pay for it. The cost of an adjustment can be taken into account in deciding if it is reasonable or not.
However, there is a government scheme called Access to Work which can help a person whose health or disability affects their work by giving them advice and support. Access to Work can help with extra costs which would not be reasonable for an employer or prospective employer to pay.
For example, Access to Work might pay towards the cost of getting to work if the disabled person cannot use public transport, or for assistance with communication at job interviews.
A person may be able to get advice and support from Access to Work if they are:
- in a paid job, or
- unemployed and about to start a job, or
- unemployed and about to start a Work Trial, or
- their disability or health condition
stopsthem from being able to do parts of their job.
You can get more information on Access to Work from your local JobCentre Plus or the Gov.UK web site here.