Mind’s Head of Policy and Campaigns Vicki Nash said: “We welcome today’s announcement on hardship payments which is long overdue. Too many people with mental health problems have been cruelly sanctioned facing hardship and leaving them with tough decisions about how to survive.”
“We are also pleased to see the acknowledgement from Work and Pensions Secretary Damian Green, in his speech this morning, that there are still fundamental problems with the benefits system which must be urgently addressed by Government. However, Mind believes that abolishing sanctions for people with mental health problems is the only option if you want to properly support and engage people. There is no evidence that sanctions when someone has a mental health problem are effective in helping them to return to work, in fact, it pushes them further from the workplace.”
“Today’s quarterly statistics show a sharp increase in the number of sanctions in recent months imposed on people claiming ESA. Sanctions do not work for people with mental health problems and are destroying lives, causing distress and anxiety for many.”
“The upcoming green paper is an opportunity for change. We urge all people with mental health problems to make their voices heard.”
Mind will be responding in detail to the Work, Health and Disability green paper consultation which closes in February 2017. We will be encouraging people to tell us their views to help inform this process as well as urging people to respond direct with their own experiences.