In the last 7 and a half years Fightback4justice have been assisting people with their welfare benefits, we have found on average around two thirds of these claimants experience some issues with their mental health. This may be in the form of moderate anxiety, panic attacks, Bipolar Disorder, depression, OCD, paranoia, PTSD or schizophrenia, the list is endless. We believe the we have dealt with every Mental Health condition over the years and most of our clients have been successful in gaining their awards eventually. It is also often the case that a claimant suffers from Anxiety, Depression or Agoraphobia as a result of their physical limitations and chronic pain or even as a result of side effects from their medication.
We ado deal with lots of people with mental health conditions alone, many refused ESA or PIP often because they do not actively have Mental Health support. Often this is because resources are notoriously limited and funding low for any mental health services throughout the UK. Often there can be a long wait to see someone or for an assessment, or sometimes we find that when someone is finally seen by a Mental Health service, a person is then limited as to how many sessions are given, or limited in the resources they can use.
That should not be the end of the road and there other ways to gain evidence and also it is possible to self refer for some services that can help and this is explained in our step by step Fightback Factsheets.
In some areas we are finding that many people are falling through cracks in the benefit assessment system and people with complex mental health conditions can be left to try and navigate on their own, as well as attempt to manage the stress of losing their benefit payments or having no support. We are told that ESA/PIP and Universal credit is often stopped as a result of lack of Community Mental Health input, or lack of anti anxiety or antidepressant medication, meaning that a person can be found fit for work, or refused PIP.
We witness that The DWP traditionally tends to give short awards to claimant’s with mental health conditions, often working on the assumption that how this affects a person can change quickly with CBT, therapy, counselling or a change in medication, often ignoring the fact that people with mental health conditions may often be isolated and avoid seeking the help they need owing to social anxiety.
In support of Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, we have opened up a number of our Mental Health resources and factsheets for anyone who may benefit from them. These resources include a selection of our popular Well Completed Forms for a variety of mental health conditions and our Information Factsheets relating to Mental Health and list of free resources available.
Further support is available to everyone by calling our General Advice lines where you will be able to speak with a member of our team who can assist you with your claim. If you struggle with the phone you can also email Fightback advocates for advice.