PETER GRANT MP CALLS FOR URGENT REVIEW AS MENTAL HEALTH CLAIMANTS TWICE AS LIKELY TO LOSE BENEFITS
New research has shown that benefits claimants who suffer from mental health problems are more than twice as likely to have their benefits stopped than those with physical conditions. Research published in the British Journal of Psychiatry shows that claimants with mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, are 2.4 times more likely than to lose their existing benefit following a Personal Independence Payment (PIP) eligibility assessment, than those suffering from physical ailments.
PIP was introduced by the Tory government in 2013 as a replacement for the Disability Living Allowance (DLA), and has come under criticism for ‘demeaning’ and ‘degrading’ benefits claimants with disabilities, mental health problems, and chronic fatigue.
In my constituency office, we have the equivalent of one full-time person doing nothing but fixing mistakes made by the DWP in assessments.
These assessments are supposed to help people in their greatest hour of need. But instead, this system makes the situation worse for somebody with mental health problems. To people on the outside, some of the issues – such as anxiety – that a person is suffering from might not seem that severe, but what must be remembered is that these issues can be made worse if a person keeps getting knocked back or psychologically beaten about.
During my three and a half years as an MP, one area that has generated a lot of work, is the appalling treatment of constituents who have had assessments based on mental problems, or a combination of physical disability and mental health problems.
I want to see the system fundamentally changed, and I think that we need to go back to the basics of what people are entitled to get either from the benefits system or from any other part of the state.
You can read my contribution in the debate on this issue (Mental Health: Assessment, 22/01/19) here.