Landmark moment as Parliamentary report recognises energy limiting conditions.

The Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology has published a seminal briefing on invisible disabilities in education and employment. Chronic Illness Inclusion contributed to the report which discusses the experience of adults with invisible disabilities.

It is estimated that 70-80% of disabilities are invisible and there are a wide range of impairments or conditions not necessarily visible to others.

Such conditions may include: mental health conditions; autism and other neurodivergences, cognitive impairments; hearing, vision and speech impairments; and energy-limiting conditions (such as fibromyalgia).

The briefing highlighted that lack of understanding and stigma from others creates consistent barriers to people with invisible disabilities. It commented that many of those with invisible disabilities are often unsure whether to disclose their disability, because they are worried about disbelief, stigma, and confidentiality.

Recommendations made by the briefing included:

  • Deconstructing societal barriers for people with invisible disabilities, which would enable them to participate in civil life, including work and education, which would have significant social and economic benefits.
  • Improving awareness and understanding of invisible disability to help to reduce stigmas and exclusionary practices.
  • Adjusting the structures or organisations and programmes to help people with invisible disabilities access support.
  • Updating policy and guidance with examples of less recognised invisible disabilities and examples of non-physical reasonable adjustments.
  • Encouraging flexible working and learning arrangements, which could improve access to work and education.

Chronic Illness Inclusion is encouraged by this report and was delighted to have contributed. You can download the full report here.



Two million disabled people cut out of pandemic benefits uplift

Two million disabled people have been cut out of receiving the £20 weekly benefit uplift, after the Court of Appeal ruled in favour of the Department of Work and Pension’s (DWP) exclusion.

The Court of Appeal held that the £20 uplift given to universal credit claimants and not those on legacy benefits was lawful.

In November 2021, four legacy benefit claimants brought a case to the High Court to fight this discrimination, and the case went to the Court of Appeal after the High Court ruled against the claimants.

Whilst the Court accepted that there were a greater proportion of disabled people claiming legacy benefits than universal credit, it refused to rule that the exclusion was discriminatory.

The DWP justified it’s decision by claiming it was needed to prevent newly unemployed people developing ‘dependence on welfare’ rather than to protect claimants from hardship.

The Court accepted this despite the glaring contradiction that all universal credit claimants were given the uplift, not just those who had recently lost their jobs.

Fran Springfield, Co-Chair of Chronic Illness Inclusion commented:

“We are outraged and devastated at the ruling on the legacy benefits uplift case by the Court of Appeal. The outcome is an affront to disabled people, including those with chronic illness. Many of us were denied emergency financial support when we needed it the most, and this discrimination should not be left unchallenged. We offer our heartfelt solidarity to the claimants who sought to bring justice for many disabled people throughout the UK.”