Study confirm: Mentally ill peoples more at risk of losing benefits

People with mental health problems such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety and low mood are at 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 (DLA), according to the research reported in the Guardian.

The findings are based on government data of about 327,000 people with either type of health condition who switched from receiving DLA to personal independence payments (PIP) between April 2013 and October 2016.

Ayaz Manji, senior policy and campaigns officer at Mind, said the data echoes what the charity hears every day from the people it supports, many of whom are being told they are no longer eligible for certain benefits.

The study, which was carried out by five researchers from York University, led by Katie Pybus, found people with serious psychiatric conditions can lose as much as £141.10 a week.

People with ADHD were 3.4 times more likely than those with a physical ailment to have their benefits taken away. Those with alcohol or drug problems were twice as likely.

In addition, 32% of the 148,700 people with a psychiatric condition in the study had their DLA taken away. This was double the 16.4% of 178,300 people with diabetes or a neurological or musculoskeletal condition who experienced that outcome.

Overall, 40% of those with ADHD had their claim disallowed, as did 33% of those with anxiety and low mood, and 32% of people with behavioural disorders.

“The findings suggest that in general, the number of claims disallowed following a PIP eligibility assessment is elevated for psychiatric conditions compared to non-psychiatric conditions, with variations by type of mental illness,” said the study, which will be published next month in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

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