Research Highlights Impact of Benefits Assessments

Research jointly undertaken by Mind in Croydon and the Institute of Psychiatry, Kings College London has now been published. The study, entitled “Only Making Things Worse, A Qualitative Study of Wrongly Removing Disability Benefits from People with Mental Illness”  highlights how going through the Work Capability Assessment process has a negative effect on peoples’ mental health. In depth interviews showed the negative impacts of the processes included:

a) the practical implications of the reduction of income (debt, poverty, hunger etc)

b) the stress involved in coping with the “never-ending” bureaucracy around benefits assessment, appeals and the interrogating and intimidating nature of the medical assessment or appeals process,

c) a sense of anger, frustration and demoralisation and the implication that people are dishonest and claim benefits which they are not entitled to.

Further research still to be published, shows that Work Capability Assessments, (WCA) have a negative effect on the mental health of people with mental health problems as measured by scales for well-being, anxiety and depressive symptoms. Although these processes make peoples’ mental health worse, people do not access more mental health services so long as they have access to a specialist mental health welfare benefits advice team. This is further evidence that funding specialist welfare benefits services, such as the one run by Mind in Croydon, can reduce peoples’ use of statutory mental health services, including in-patient services.

You can read the full research here

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