Cultural barriers keep out claimants

People from ethnic minorities are being denied benefits because
of culturally insensitive procedures and inadequate language
services, according to the work and pensions select committee.

However, in a report last week, it said there was no way of
measuring discrimination because of the failure of the Department
for Work and Pensions to monitor services in line with the Race
Relations (Amendment) Act.

The telephone-based nature of the pension service deters people
who do not speak English as a first language, while interpreter
services are thin on the ground, the report says.

It says residence and identification requirements for benefits
are likely to exclude people from ethnic minorities because they
may have to spend longer periods out of the UK and may lack birth
or marriage certificates.

It urges the DWP to implement ethnic monitoring across its
services, bring in experts to assess race awareness training, and
review processes to tackle clients’ language needs.


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