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How Will the New Government Help Those with a Spinal Cord Injury?

The Conservative manifesto pledges to halve the gap between the proportion of disabled and non-disabled people in work by removing “barriers that stop women and disabled people from participating in our workforce” to employment.

The party has pledged to increase NHS spending in England by at least £8 billion above inflation over the next five years and to focus on “integrating health and social care”. In addition, they promise to guarantee seven-day access to GPs by 2020 with same day appointments for those aged 75 and over.

But Mr Cameron’s government also plans to plow ahead with further austerity including £12 billion of unidentified benefit cuts. Iain Duncan-Smith has been returned to the cabinet as the Work and Pensions Secretary to oversee the cuts and Downing Street has said Mr Duncan Smith will continue with his task of “making work pay” and reforming welfare.

The UK Government has announced plans to “reassess” those on incapacity benefit, stating that the “days of something for nothing” are over and that benefits should only go to those who really need it.

They will lower the amount of social security payments that a household can receive to a maximum of £23,000 a year although disabled people claiming disability living allowance or personal independence payments will be excluded.

The Conservative manifesto pledges to replace the Human Rights Act, introduced by the last Labour government, with a British Bill of Rights. We don’t yet know what form this proposed Bill of Rights will arrive in, but it will mean the UK is not subject to EU law regarding the rights of the disabled.

The overall spend in 2013/14 on Access to Work – the scheme that helps people with disabilities, illness or mental health issues into employment – was £108 million, covering 35,540 people.

This scheme pays for the cost of essential specialist equipment as well as support workers and travel costs to work if someone is unable to use public transport. But from October, in a move Disability UK has described as ‘short-sighted’, workers will be unable to claim support worth more than one and a half times the national average salary – currently £40,800 a year.

A letter recently published in the Guardian newspaper spoke of the “profoundly disturbing” implications for people affected by the previous government’s austerity policies which it says were largely ignored in the general election campaign.

The coalition’s welfare reforms have caused emotional and mental turmoil to thousands of people, forcing families to relocate against their will and burdening the ill, unemployed and people with disabilities with an extremely unsettling benefits regime. We can only hope the new government does what it can to redress this damage.

For people who have suffered a spinal cord injury, the NHS provides a vital service in the early days. However, the incredibly demanding constraints of such life-changing injuries mean the potential for state-funded healthcare to assist with rehabilitation, treatment and equipment is limited - especially when such specialist care is needed for the rest of someone’s life.

In many cases, such lifelong funding can only be paid for privately or through the proceeds of a successful compensation payment. This is why it is so crucial for people who have suffered a spinal cord injury through no fault of their own to seek expert legal advice.

With Slater and Gordon Lawyers on your side,         a No Win, No Fee spinal injury claim can enable you to get the support and financial compensation needed to live with a spinal injury, not only in the short term, but also to provide for your future needs.

Every spinal injury claim is different and the amount of compensation paid will vary from case to case. We will however give you an accurate indication at the earliest stage as to how much compensation you could expect to receive, to help you plan for your future.

Our expert Spinal Injury Solicitors aim to provide total support for our clients and we will work to secure Interim Payments of compensation whenever possible to relieve financial pressures and cover immediate expenses. We can also provide advice on long-term financial planning and rehabilitation.

The Slater and Gordon Spinal Injuries team has access to a network of treatment providers and medical experts with a vast range of experience in helping people who have suffered serious injuries. We can arrange medical treatment, physiotherapy, counselling, retraining, re-housing and many other rehabilitation services. Whatever the nature and extent of your injuries, we will make sure you are in the very best hands.

For a free consultation, call us on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we will call you.

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