‘Don’t leave disabled people behind’ – MS Society urges support for petition

Please note: The current Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic is fast moving, and reactions to it seem to update not just day-by-day but minute-by-minute. Obviously, this site was not designed to bring you the very latest developments in a ‘breaking news’ story such as this. Instead, this site will continue to include news and opinions relating to major events, policy changes, and so on.


People with disabilities are being left behind in the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis, says the MS Society. And now, with other members of the DBC (Disability Benefits Consortium), it is stepping up its fight for equality by asking us to sign an online petition to the UK government.

The society is among more than 100 disability organisations that have already written to the government, calling for it to provide parity between the support given to new benefit claimants, and the millions of people who were already on disability benefits.

dbcA DBC survey of over 200 disabled people found nearly all (95%) had seen an increase in their costs as a result of the pandemic.

The move was because the government, in response to the pandemic, had announced an emergency increase of £20 a week for Universal Credit and Working Tax Credits. But the same increase hasn’t been made to other out of work benefits, such as ESA (Employment and Support Allowance), likely to be paid to people with disabilities.

The petition reads:

Don’t Leave Disabled People Behind

The UK Government must immediately give all out of work benefits the same COVID-19 emergency £20 increase that Universal Credit has seen.

Government discriminating against disabled

The society says: “The Government has chosen to ‘focus on new claimants’ by providing an extra £20 a week for people claiming Universal Credit. By doing this, they are discriminating against millions of disabled people on other out of work disability benefits.

“Disabled people are experiencing additional costs and risks as a result of COVID-19 but are without the extra support they need to manage these. As a result, people are having to choose between heating their home, or paying for a taxi to go and collect their medication because public transport is too unsafe. They are having to put themselves at risk by going to their local shop because they can’t afford the minimum spend needed to get a free food delivery.

ms society“Disabled people have been expected to survive on inadequate benefit levels for years. It is unacceptable that now, in a time of national crisis they are being left behind. The Government have, by increasing the rate for some, admitted that people need more financial support. They must now provide a better safety net for everyone.”

Already some 110,000 people have signed the petition, and now the call is for more.

Hannah, of the MS Society campaigns team, said: “We need to make sure people with multiple sclerosis get the financial support they need, especially during this difficult time.

“Please sign the petition and share it far and wide.”

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Please note that being born in the UK, all my posts, are written using British English spelling.

For example:

Centre                              not center (except in names, Centers of Disease Control)                  Colour                              not color                                                                                                                      Diarrhoea                       not diarrhea                                                                                                  Haematology                not hematology                                                                                Haematopoietic          not hematopoietic

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50shadesofsun.com is the personal website of Ian Franks. He enjoyed a successful career as a journalist, from reporter to editor in the print media. He gained a Journalist of the Year award in his native UK. More recently, he was a freelance medical writer and editor for various health information sites. Ian received a diagnosis of MS in 2002 and now lives in the south of Spain. He uses a wheelchair and advocates on mobility and accessibility issues.

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Note: Health-related information available on 50shadesofsun website is for your general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. Ian is not a doctor, so cannot and does not give you medical advice. You should seek prompt medical care for any specific health issues. Also, consult a doctor before starting a new diet or exercise programme. Any opinions expressed are purely his own unless otherwise stated.


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