Mental Health & Benefits (Rethink Campaign)

Dear Constituent,

Thank you for contacting me about mental illness and the benefit system.

I believe it is vital that those with mental health conditions receive the support they need. Both the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) and Personal Independence Payment (PIP) have been designed to support those with mental health conditions.

PIP ensures parity between mental and physical health conditions by looking at the needs of the individual not their condition. Over two thirds of recipients with a mental health condition receive the enhanced daily living component, compared with around a fifth who used to receive the higher rate under Disability Living Allowance. New PIP claims are now being cleared around four times faster than when the payment was introduced. There is a statutory requirement to have two independent reviews of PIP, the Government has recently responded accepted all of the recommendations of the second.

The WCA has been under constant review since it began in 2008, with more than 100 recommendations made. Some of the most important changes have concerned mental health. The WCA claimant questionnaire has been redesigned to make it clear that evidence from healthcare professionals and advocates is particularly valuable in mental health cases. All Work Capability and PIP assessors and frontline Department for Work and Pensions staff receive training in mental health. Additionally, Mental Function Champions have been introduced to provide advice to assessors during the assessment process. They are specialist practitioners who have at least 2 years of clinical experience in a mental health or learning disability roles.

Eight per cent of PIP cases are appealed and four per cent are overturned. I am encouraged that over four in five people are highly satisfied or satisfied with the WCA process.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.