The CAML Research and Campaigns Micro-Volunteering project has finished its first research project for 2017, looking at the impact of mental health for our clients in relation to welfare benefits. The research asked the question:
“Does having a mental health condition disproportionately affect a person’s eligibility for welfare benefits?”
The evidence for this research report is based on the work undertaken by staff and volunteers at CAML.
Our research highlights national Citizens Advice (CA) research that a significant and rising number of people affected by mental health are seeking support with benefit issues.
Our own research found the majority of staff and volunteers who took part in our Mental Health and Benefits survey, felt clients were disproportionately disadvantaged when it comes to claiming benefits. Specific areas of concern for clients emerged around the process of claiming benefits, including: challenging decisions and the ability to meet conditions, the use of sanctions, completing claim forms, recent changes in descriptors, the gathering of evidence and inadequate assessments. It was widely felt that the worst aspects of the benefits system can be a contributory factor to deterioration in client’s mental health and wellbeing.
The research made recommendations in three areas: improving CAML support for clients, ways to better support CAML staff and volunteers and raising awareness.
You can read the summary of the research here