Ipswich Unemployed Action.

Campaigning for Unemployed Rights.

Posts Tagged ‘mental health problems

Sanctioned Jobless with Mental Health Problems not “Vulnerable” says DWP.


Sanctioned Jobseekers with mental health problems are not classed as ‘vulnerable’ unless they have an accompanying physical health problem, according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP).

Reports Welfare Weekly.

Use of the controversial sanctions regime, which sees claimants money cut or stopped for up to three years, has rocketed since stricter rules were introduced by the government.

In 2013-14 record numbers of sanctions were imposed, with nearly one in six jobseekers affected, and many fear those with mental health problems are often the hardest hit.

When a claimant has their Jobseekers Allowance (JSA) reduced or stopped they can apply for a hardship payment – up to 60% of their JSA. This can go some way to cover the cost of food and bills while they have no other means of support. Those classed as ‘vulnerable’ can normally claim this vital support immediately, but others may have to wait at least two weeks.

However, those JSA claimants with even the most serious mental health illnesses are not considered vulnerable by DWP; they have to instead wait and go through what could become a lengthy application process.

DWP guidance on hardship payments states: “Requests for hardship payments may be made by people who say they have a mental condition. A person will only be a member of a vulnerable group if the condition causes limitation in functional capacity because of a physical impairment.”

It continues: “It is extremely rare for a mental condition to produce a physical impairment that limits or restricts functional capacity but it can happen.”

For decision makers in any doubt, the guidance goes on to clarify all mental illnesses “without physical impairment”:

  • Affective disorder
  • Agoraphobia
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Affective disorder
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Depression
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Nervous Debility
  • Neurasthenia
  • Neurosis
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia
  • Phobias
  • Phobic anxiety
  • Psychoneurosis
  • Psychosis
  • Schizophrenia

Welfare Weekly cites statistics showing that 23% of JSA claimants have a mental health condition.

“While those suffering from the most severe mental illnesses are likely to receive Employment and Support Allowance (ESA), it is estimated that 23% of JSA claimants have a mental health condition.”

This should be put in full context: the same statistical source estimates that 16% of the General Population has a mental health condition (Page 3. Mental Health and Employment.)

It is also important to look at the rise in sanctions.

These are the figures available in January this year: (ITV News)


And this: Claimants with mental health issues are being ‘punished’ for being late and missing appointments while claiming benefits.

There has been no sudden rise in the numbers of people with these difficulties.

We can conclude that people with these problems are particularly hit.

In other words, the effect of sanctions regime is to punish the vulnerable.

The benefit sanctions regime should be scrapped !

Written by Andrew Coates

August 7, 2015 at 4:21 pm

Iain Duncan Smith Goes for the Mentally ill.

Desperate to save his post in the Cabinet Iain Duncan Smith has now turned on another target: those with psychological problems.

Yesterday the Mirror reported this,

Plans to strip benefits from the mentally ill unless they agree to treatment were savaged as “complete tosh” today – by an influential TORY MP.

Dr Sarah Wollaston, the chair of the Health Select Committee, said the proposal was “unethical,
unworkable nonsense” and “fundamentally flawed”.

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith is looking at forcing claimants with depression or
anxiety to undergo therapy as a condition of getting sickness benefits.

But Dr Wollaston said: “Presumably this complete tosh planted by someone who has no understanding of consent to treatment.


But Dr Wollaston said: “Presumably this complete tosh planted by someone who has no understanding of consent to treatment.”

Posting on Twitter, she added: “When I say it’s a ‘no brainer’ I mean this unethical, unworkable kite flying comes from someone with no brain.”

Lib Dem health minister Norman Lamb also blasted the plan.

He said: “The idea that you frogmarch someone into therapy with the threat of a loss of benefits simply won’t work. You actually need someone to go into therapy willingly.”

The “someone with no brain” is unmoved by the opinion of health-care professionals, or indeed by common sense.

Iain plans to go ahead with the plan,

trial scheme is expected to begin this year.

Government insiders say 46% of the 260,000 people on Employment and Support Allowance have mental health problems.

A source said: “Loads of people who claim ESA undergo no treatment whatsoever. It is bizarre. This is a real problem because we want people to get better.”

A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions said: “ESA / WCA (Work Capability Assessment) was introduced by previous Government in 2008 and we knew it wasn’t working as well as it should – including for people with mental health conditions.

“That is why we instigated a rolling review of the WCA and have made improvements for people with mental health conditions including introducing mental health champions.

“We are always looking at ways to further improve the system and support more people with mental health conditions at work, including through the use of these pilots.”


If these ideas are put in practice we can look forward to more seriously distressed people wandering the streets, penniless, and pushed from pillar to post.

Bravo Iain!

You know how to cling to your job!