• Welcome! It’s great to see you. Our forum members are people, maybe like yourself, who experience mental health difficulties or who have had them at some point in their life.

    If you'd like to talk with people who know what it's like

Mentally ill people more at risk of losing benefits, study shows



Well-known member
Mar 23, 2009
Posted by Denis Campbell

People with mental health problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and low mood are at far greater risk of having their benefits stopped than those with physical ailments, research shows.

Benefits claimants who have a psychiatric condition are 2.4 times more likely than those with diabetes, back pain or epilepsy to lose their entitlement to disability living allowance.
Mentally ill people more at risk of losing benefits, study shows

A shocking state of affairs.


For some reason my partly saved draft decided to go ahead and post itself :unsure: Proper response to follow...


I think a key reason for this disparity - perhaps the key reason - is that the variable severity of many mental health problems is very much used against benefit applicants. Especially the fact that with many mental health conditions - depression, for example - it is not uncommon for people to have good days - good periods, even - during which they're symptom free.

There is also the issue of the assessment questionnaire not being an easy 'fit' for mental health conditions. Take the infamous, 'can you make a cup of tea?' question... obviously that's a very relevant question to ask people making claims for physical ailments/disabilities, but what has it ostensibly got to do with mental health?

I say 'ostensibly' because it is possible to make the question applicable to some mental health conditions, but that requires you to approach it from a slightly different angle e.g. I'm physically able to make a cup of tea, but my depression can be so bad that I don't even leave my bed, let alone go to the kitchen, and so am effectively incapable of making a hot drink at those times.

If you don't clearly make such connections for the assessor, they certainly won't join the dots on your behalf in their report... basically, it's not enough to state how your illness affects you - you also need to do so in the right manner, so as to satisfy the rigid criteria which the assessors go by. While this affects all claimants - mental health and non-mental health alike - I would say that this issue presents a bigger problem for those with mental health conditions, given that some questions (e.g. the one about making tea) aren't posed in a way which is intuitively frameable through a psychiatric lens.