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Discrimination is the right word for this.

Other people get the full remote service including video hearings.

But not people with disabilities.

There’s no good reason for the refusal to accommodate them.

So it has to be discrimination. And it’s no surprise, given the Conservative government’s legendary hatred of people with disabilities.

The government’s continuing failure to allow benefit appeals to be heard via video conferencing is discriminating against disabled claimants, say welfare rights experts.

Many disabled people are being forced to ask for their tribunals to be postponed, because they are only being offered a telephone hearing, says one disabled people’s organisation.

The tribunal system is not currently running face-to-face hearings because of the pandemic crisis, with judges instead deciding cases on documents alone or by holding a telephone hearing.

Disability Cambridgeshire says that telephone hearings – which involve a judge and two experts speaking on the phone to the disabled person making the appeal – can cause huge difficulty for the claimant.

It has had to seek adjournments for all but one of the personal independence payment (PIP) appeals it has been helping with since the coronavirus lockdown in March, because its advisers were not confident their disabled clients would be dealt with fairly if they had a telephone hearing.

The adjournment delay means they will be forced to cope without the benefits they are entitled to for many more months.

Video hearings, for example using the Zoom platform, are likely to be more accessible for many disabled people, including those with hearing impairments, learning difficulties or difficulties with concentration.

Source: Coronavirus: Government’s failure to offer video PIP appeals ‘is discrimination’ – Disability News Service

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