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Disability Action in Islington challenge assessments

Neal 7000 series interview used in benefits assessments

03 December, 2018 — By Emily Finch

Martha Wiseman with the Neal 7000 series which she used last week 

A DISABILITY action group is fighting back against “often inaccurate” benefits assessments with a vintage police tape recorder previously used to tape confessions.

Disability Action in Islington, an organisation headquartered in the Marquess estate in St Pauls Road, has lent the Neal 7000 series interview recorder to six residents who worried about their Personal Independence Payment (PIP) assessments. Those hoping to get PIP must prove their disability in front of health professionalsemployed by the Department for Work and Pensions.

Martha Wiseman, from Angel, who used the recorder during her assessment last week, said: The recorder made a real difference to my assessment. It boosted my confidence and gave me reassurance.”

Andy Greene, manager at Disability Action, said his organisation was the first in the country to rent out the devices to residents which they do for free.

He said: We had to buy a very specific recorder which produces two tapes at the end of the recording because of government rules. Most people cant afford these so we bought one for £100 . The thing we were hearing was that people often felt sold out by the assessments with the reports from the assessments not often accurately reflecting what was said. But with the recorder they have an extra layer of independent scrutiny.

The tapes can be used by the claimant to contest their assessment results.

He added that Disability Action Islington were looking to join up with other organisations to provide advocates to accompany people to their assessments.

The organisation which is run by disabled people – Mr Greene is a wheelchair user – is inviting the boroughs disabled residents to a celebration on Monday to mark the UNs International Day of Disabled Persons.

Campaigner Andy Greene outside Disability Action in Islington

Mr Greene said: Disabled people in Islington are facing many barriers at the moment. We know this because we support people every day with Information & Advice every day around things like benefits, housing, council services and many other issues. Dealing with these things can be a real struggle. This event is a chance to relieve some of that, to have fun, take part in activities they might not usually do, to be entertained lets look at ourselves differently. It’s important to remember the best parts of ourselves and celebrate who we are.

Booking is essential, go to http://www.daii.org/ for more information or call 020 7354 8925

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