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Guest blog: Disability Law Service

  • 26/03/2019
  • Author:bridgetmccall

David Laurence, Deputy Chief Executive, explains how the charity works with disabled people and their carers in England and Wales

Young man on the phone

Did you know that over half the people living in poverty in the UK are either disabled or living with a disabled person?  It is shocking, isn’t it?  And given the high costs of legal advice and the reduction in legal aid, vulnerable people find their ability to access justice is severely limited.

That is why Disability Law Service (DLS) is here: to provide free legal advice so that disabled people and their carers can have access to justice.

Who we help

All the people that DLS helps are disabled people, or family members or carers who contact us on the disabled person’s behalf. They have a variety of impairments or long term limiting health conditions. Many have hidden disabilities, such as epilepsy, diabetes, autistic spectrum disorder or mental health problems, which can make daily life, employment and accessing services particularly difficult.

We are able to help disabled people and their carers in England and Wales.

Key areas of importance

At Disability Law Service, we cover key areas of importance to our clients: community care, employment (including discrimination in the workplace), housing and welfare benefits.

By writing this blog, we want to encourage you to use our free service. So let’s look at the areas of law where we can help.

Community Care

Community Care refers to the services provided by social services and the NHS to help adults, children and their carers with their care needs. This can include help at home, respite care, access to the community, travel assistance, residential care and adaptations to your home.

The law in community care is used to challenge decisions made by local authorities and NHS trusts. The common breaches of law include: removal or reductions in care packages, delays or refusals in assessments and incorrect or unfair charges for necessary services.

We have a legal aid contract for community care, so if you are eligible, we can provide full representation, including appearing in court for you. If you are not eligible, we can still provide some help – so please be in touch.

Employment

We can help employment law callers with a range of issues – whether you are in work and trying to access equality of opportunity in the workplace; or if you have left work through dismissal or resignation.  

We can help people with the statutory right to reasonable adjustments in the workplace; or the contractual right to a safe working environment; or the statutory rights to freedom from discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Current funding means we can only provide full support, including tribunal appearances, for those in the London area. However, we provide basic support for callers wherever you are located.

Housing

We have a legal aid contract to provide help to people with housing law needs. We can help those with homelessness, repossessions, unlawful eviction, landlord disputes and harassment and Anti-Social Behaviour Orders (ASBOs).

If you are eligible for legal aid, we can provide full representation, including at court. If you are not, we will still be able to provide some assistance.

Welfare benefits

We provide advice by phone, email and in writing to individuals who have benefit enquiries about their entitlements, mandatory reconsiderations and appeals. This includes all benefits such as Employment and Support Allowance, Personal Independence Payments, Housing Benefit, Universal Credit and Attendance Allowance.

Our benefits advisor is always very busy, meaning that casework support and tribunal appearances are not possible. However, you can call our benefits helpline.

MS Society

The MS Society recognises that people with multiple sclerosis (MS) can experience a range of legal problems and so funds two members of our team:

  • The MS Legal Officer, who provides advice in relation to employment, community care and benefits, and
  • The MS Welfare Benefits Officer, who is focussed exclusively on benefits. 

The service provided is a telephone helpline and does not cover representation.

What our Clients Think

Why not see what our clients think of us by watching this video

Get in Touch

We welcome enquiries by phone, email and post or via the contact forms on the Disability Law Service website.

We are a busy service and you may need to leave a message if you phone. We aim to respond to all enquiries within 3-5 working days.

Postal enquiries can be sent to:

Disability Law Service,

The Foundry

17 Oval Way,

London SE11 5RR.

The table below sets out how to get in touch by phone or email, depending on what area of the charity's work you are calling about.

Area Phone: 0207 791 9800 Email address
Community Care Please choose Option 2 advice@dls.org.uk
Employment Please choose Option 3 employment@dls.org.uk
Housing Please choose Option 6 housing@dls.org.uk
Welfare Benefits Please choose Option 5 benefits@dls.org.uk
If you have MS Please choose Option 1 msadvice@dls.org.uk

 

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