Our current theme Speak – Listen – Change is all about supporting each other’s mental wellbeing. A lot of the time, that’s simply about helping each other to feel we can be open about our mental health, and do simple things to maintain our mental wellbeing.
Sometimes, people with mental health problems also need some support from the benefits system. According to Mind: “That support is what helps people stay independent, cover the costs of being out of work, and keep control over their own lives.”
But a recent report from the Work and Pensions Select Committee said disability benefits assessments have become “opaque and unfriendly”.
This is leading to “poor decision making” about who gets support (including for people with mental health problems).
The Committee have made some recommendations, including that:
- Assessments should be recorded;
- Assessors should use better evidence;
- Private companies carrying out the assessments should be more tightly regulated.
Pop into Peace Hub to take action for fair support!
You can sign an action card to Sarah Newton MP (Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work) asking her to respond to the report and put the recommendations into practise.
What is a ‘Select Committee’ and why have they made a report?
There is a Commons Select Committee for each government department: they are a group of MPs, chosen to check that the department is spending money sensibly, making good policies and functioning well.
The Work and Pensions Select Committee does this for the Department for Work and Pensions. This is the department that runs the benefits system.
The Select Committee decided to conduct an inquiry into the private companies that are paid to carry out assessments for two types of disability benefits: Personal Independence Payments (PIP) and Employment and Support Allowance (ESA). They gathered evidence from the companies, people who have gone through these assessments, and experts such as doctors.
Their report sums up what they found, and makes recommendations to the government to improve the system.