Local MP warns: "Don't write off people with autism"

Geoffrey Cox is backing a National Autistic Society (NAS) campaign to stop adults with autism being written-off by the employment and benefits system.


Geoffrey Cox QC MP is backing a National Autistic Society (NAS) campaign to stop adults with autism being written-off by the employment and benefits system. A new report by the NAS has revealed that a third of people with the condition currently live without a job and without benefits; many are forced to rely on family and friends for help. The MP pledged his support at a meeting in Parliament last week.

The MP who has strongly championed improved services in Devon for those with autistic spectrum disorders, said: "People with autism have much to offer and we know that many want to work but are unable to get the help and support they need to fulfil their potential. It is crucial that people with serious, lifelong conditions such as autism get the help they need when seeking employment and are supported financially when they cannot work."

Only 15% of adults with autism in the UK are in fulltime paid employment. The NAS report reveals that the majority of the over 300,000 working age adults with autism want to work but are being held back by a lack of understanding of autism amongst employment and benefits advisors at Jobcentre Plus and a dearth of specialist employment services. As a result they often experience inadequate job-seeking support, unnecessary and distressing delays in payment, or are being denied essential benefits altogether.

Research for the Don't write me off report found:

  • Almost 80% of people with autism on Incapacity Benefit want to work.
  • Over a third said their Disability Employment Advisor's knowledge of autism was "very bad" or "bad".
  • Half of people with autism have spent time with neither a job nor benefits with over three quarters of those forced to rely on family and friends as a result.
  • Over 82% needed some kind of help to apply for benefits, but few were made aware of their right to an advocate. In the worst cases parents were actively blocked from helping.

To find out more about the campaign, visit: www.autism.org.uk/dontwritemeoff


Photo: Geoffrey Cox backs National Autistic Society "Don't write me off" campaign


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