Deaf Awareness Week – celebrating HMRC’s support for deaf people

From 15-21 May 2017, Deaf Awareness Week will celebrate collaborative work that has made a difference for people who are deaf or have a hearing loss.

Promoted by the UK Council on Deafness, an umbrella body for voluntary organisations working with deaf people in the UK, Deaf Awareness Week is celebrating collaborations on Awareness, Education, Employment, Information, Services and Prevention.

With this in mind, we wanted to take the opportunity to highlight the work that HMRC do with The Royal Association for Deaf People (RAD) to make information and advice more accessible for deaf people in the UK.

This includes setting up the website where deaf people can:

  • find information on tax and tax credits in British Sign Language (BSL)
  • book a webcam appointment in British Sign Language with RAD’s own Tax Adviser to solve problems with tax or tax credits
  • contact a British Sign Language interpreter using a webcam who will then talk to an HMRC adviser, thereby creating a three-way ‘real time’ conversation.

You can find out more about the HMRC/RAD partnership in this BSL YouTube video. There is also a BSL YouTube video describing the various ways that you can contact HMRC if you are deaf

Undoubtedly HMRC have made recent progress in improving the accessibility of their services for deaf people and those with other disabilities - you can find further information in the dealing with HMRC if you have particular needs section of our website.   

However, as with everything, we think there is more that could be done. For example, we think features such as telephone voice recognition software, can make deaf people’s lives difficult and we think that HMRC should publicise that those with hearing or speech impairments to use an online form rather than the telephone to request a face-to-face meeting with the Needs Extra Support service. 

You can read more about the ways that we think HMRC could better support disabled people in our press release ‘HMRC urged to do more to help disabled people in work’.