Report On Mental Health and Claiming Universal credit

Child Poverty Action Group

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“People experiencing mental ill health face specific problems claiming support from our social security system. This is particularly the case with universal credit (UC) because it is fully digital, and because it is the same benefit for all working-age people, whether or not you have a mental health problem. To ensure everyone can access the financial support they need, there should be a robust and prompt system within UC to identify those who need additional support to claim, or different treatment to access support. And a requirement that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) acts on that information. We undertook research to find out whether the DWP is meeting the needs of people with mental health problems and making adjustments to their service as required by law. UC was promoted in its early stages as a personalised service, providing support to meet people’s needs. We wanted to find out whether it has lived up to this ambition.”

An interesting report which makes some some really good recommendations.

“The key finding from our research is that no participant reported being asked whether they needed a reasonable
adjustment to be made in connection with applying for and maintaining a claim for UC. Participants were not
asked if they needed alternative methods of claiming or communicating, or how their mental health affected their
ability to access the UC system. This omission had an impact on claimants at all stages of the claimant journey,
starting with the initial application. Participants themselves did not ask for adjustments by citing the Equality Act as
they were unaware of the rights it confers.”

Quite shocking, though not surprising sadly.

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