Data from Mind today reveal the scale of sanctions imposed on people with mental health problems being supported by out-of-work disability benefits. Figures obtained by the mental health charity under the Freedom of Information Act show that there were up to three times more benefit sanctions issued by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to people with mental health problems last year than there were people supported into work.
There were almost 20,000 benefits sanctions received by people who were out of work because of their mental health last year, while only 6340 of this group were successfully supported into a job during the same period.
There are approximately 250,000 people receiving the benefit Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) who need this support primarily because of their mental health. People can be sanctioned – have their benefits cut – if they fail to participate in work-related activity, including missing appointments or being late for meetings or CV writing workshops. However, many people with mental health problems find it difficult to participate in these activities due to the nature of their health problem and the types of activities they’re asked to do, which are often inappropriate.