OPINION: Help disabled people – and their staff – because the government refuses to

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OPINION: Help disabled people – and their staff – because the government refuses to

Care workers should be paid much more and disabled people can be productive if firms give them jobs - but there is a risk that will not happen now

As we embark on life in a post-pandemic society, many of us are navigating the cost-of-living crisis.

This is true in particular for people who are already vulnerable, including people with disabilities. In addition, the government is clawing back on social care funding, which has the potential to put working-age adult recipients of social care into a cycle of dependency and even poverty, as funding falls short.

It is vital to ensure people with a disability can continue to receive the resources they need to have a good life. Charity support goes a long way; however, it is vital that every person is helped to achieve their potential without limits.

People with learning disabilities are at risk of being forgotten. It was during Covid that we truly loved the NHS. How astonishing when you consider the ‘politically correct’ world we live in that the most vulnerable in society can be constantly disregarded – not having the pathway of success and equality at their feet. It’s crucial that we work together with people with learning disabilities to embrace each other for the valuable roles we all play in the community. To champion this, everyone has a part to play in offering their best mutual support.

The recent vote in the House of Lords on the Social Care Bill has failed working-age disabled people over care charging. Members passed the Bill, effectively voting against amendments that would have ensured that nobody in England under the age of 40 would have to pay for their care and support. Owing to employment challenges, many in this group are reliant on their benefits to pay for both basic necessities as well as extras such as leisure. Therefore, this Bill will limit what working-age adults with disabilities have to help them thrive and live life to the full.

The reforms introduced a lifetime cap of £86,000 on how much anyone needs to pay for social care. Young disabled people may stand no chance of building up savings for a mortgage as they will now have to pay for care charges for decades before they retire, leaving them at risk of poverty in older age. This creates a huge disparity in opportunity between disabled and non-disabled younger people across their lifetimes. The government’s own impact assessment admits that only 10 percent of working-age disabled adults who need social care will benefit from the changes; that a fifth of older people will not see any benefits from the cap; and that poorer care users are more likely to die before they reach the cap – eye-watering predications that are close to becoming a reality.

With everyone feeling the pinch, businesses are even less likely to employ people who may need more training and support, regardless of the many benefits to the employer. When given the right support, people with learning disabilities can make a huge contribution to society. I urge people in the community to build more inclusive workplaces which will create better career opportunities for young and older adults with a learning disability.

It is often easy to overlook the hardworking and dedicated paid staff that people with disabilities have surrounding them. As the cost of living rises, the social care workforce have their own worries about how they will meet the basic needs of their own families on their salary.

Social care staff should be rewarded for the roles they take on. Kisharon needs your help to do that and is this weekend asking the community to get behind our fundraising campaign.

Please take a moment to think about what we can all do to bring about change, together with people with disabilities: recognising everyone’s unique talent and contribution, from workplace inclusivity to self-advocacy and career ambition. Financial security and confidence play a key role for the people Kisharon support. However, we can all do our part to help provide the platform for the people we support to grow, learn and, most importantly, thrive.

Hadassa Kessler is director of Kisharon


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