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DWP launches online sign language for universal credit


Mark Say Managing Editor

The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a service for universal credit claimants to access British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters online.

'Friend' in sign language

Named the Video Relay Service (VRS), it has become available through GOV.UK and enables users to make BSL interpreted video calls through a digital device. A professional interpreter then relays the call in English to a member of DWP staff.

DWP said it will support many of the 87,000 deaf BSL users in the UK.

Minister for Disabled People, Health and Work Justin Tomlinson said: “With more than 1.4 million people accessing universal credit in these unprecedented times, this technology will provide vital and equal accessibility for deaf people and those with hearing loss.

“It is fantastic to see concern for increasing accessibility going right to the top and I am delighted that we are championing this cause for people accessing the welfare safety net.”

The service is already available for people accessing other disability benefits and the Access to Work scheme.

DWP has also highlighted the availability of a SignVideo app that can connect to universal credit applications.

Image by Marina del Castell, CC BY 2.0

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