‘The system is letting me down’, says dyslexic man refused help from Job Centre (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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‘The system is letting me down’, says dyslexic man from Chingford, refused help from job centre
An unemployed father-of-three was refused support from Job Centre staff, despite being diagnosed with a severe form of dyslexia.
Ennis Mustafa, 30, of Hurst Avenue in Chingford, has a condition which impairs his memory, and reading and writing skills.
He was diagnosed in 2011 following a request from the Job Centre in Westbury Road, Walthamstow.
Since then, he says the centre has done nothing to support him overcome the challenges he faces in finding appropriate work.
Mr Mustafa said: “I don’t want a hand out. I just want the help I’m entitled to.”
Mr Mustafa recently asked for help to complete an appeal form he had been given after some confusion over an appointment date led to his benefits being stopped for a month.
He claims a member of staff insisted dyslexia was not a disability and said workers were not allowed to help clients complete forms.
Mr Mustafa complained after receiving advice from the British Dyslexia Association, which informed him that dyslexia is defined as a disability under the Equality Act 2010.
This means he is entitled to specialist support from job centre staff.
But Mr Mustafa claimed he was then told to fill out a complaint form.
Mr Mustafa is keen to improve his reading and writing skills and train as a plumber, but needs support to find jobs and approach employers.
He said: “It’s a never ending battle for me. I’m trying to do things correctly but the system is letting me down.
“I want to work hard and support my kids and make a future for them.”
A Department of Work and Pensions spokeswoman said:"Dyslexia is a disability, and we have resources in place to give jobseekers extra support in completing forms and paperwork.
"On this occasion, the advice Mr Mustafa was given was incorrect, and we have since apologised.
“Action has since been taken to ensure that the person who provided the incorrect advice is aware of latest policy and information about Dyslexia to make them more aware of the condition and its place in the Disability Discrimination Act.”
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