Benefit cuts cause surge in mental ill-health among jobseekers

About a quarter of people on Jobseeker’s Allowance received at least one sanction between 2010 and 2015 [Image: Rex].

Now you can see why the Tories didn’t want to include mental health problems as qualifiers for sickness and disability benefits – it would have undone all their careful work to deprive jobseekers of the money they need to survive!

The Conservative plan is – and always has been – to drive people with mental health problems to suicide. That’s why they included a question practically driving benefit claimants to it in the assessments for ESA and PIP.

So you see the progression: A jobless person signs on at the Job Centre. They are given a ridiculous series of conditions for receipt of their benefit, and a breach of any of those conditions will be used to justify a sanction – denying them their benefit for a period of time.

This puts the jobseeker under immense pressure because Department for Work and Pensions employees use underhand techniques to justify imposing these sanctions. This is from two years ago:

DWP staff have deliberately withheld hardship payments from people who have had their benefits sanctioned.

They failed to offer flexible funds that should be available for clothes or a bus fare if that is needed to help a jobseeker secure employment (surely a contradiction in terms – DWP staff are supposed to help people into work).

They received “brownie points for cruelty”.

This is why jobseekers are suffering mental health problems. They are under constant pressure from the government department that should be supporting them, are in constant danger of losing the benefit money they need if they are to pay their bills, and are therefore constantly worried that they will not be able to pay the rent and could lose their homes – or that they will not be able to heat that home or feed themselves.

Then, when they claim ESA or PIP on the grounds that their mental health has declined, the assessor demands to know why they haven’t committed suicide.

For many people – who started out in perfectly good mental health – this could be the last straw.

The government pushes them into taking their own lives.

Rates of severe anxiety and depression among unemployed people have soared by more than 50 per cent in the last four years as the impact of “harsh” austerity policies take their toll, The Independent can reveal.

The UK Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP) said the Government’s reforms of welfare payments were to blame for the rise, as benefit cuts and sanctions “are having a toxic impact on mental health”.

New analysis of data from NHS surveys of GP patients shows that in March 2017, 15.2 per cent of unemployed people said they suffered from severe or extreme anxiety or depression.

This figure has increased steadily from 10.1 per cent in June 2013, and marks a sharper jump than rates of the conditions among the general population, which rose 20 per cent over the same period, from 3.4 per cent of people to 4.1 per cent.

“The devastating impact of the benefits cap for families with children, the freezing of benefits at a time of inflation, and the cutting of benefits for the disabled are putting claimants under terrible mental and financial strain,” said Janet Weisz, the UKCP’s chief executive.

“The constant threat of benefit sanctions only adds to the pressure.”

(Source: Government welfare cuts blamed for 50% surge in mental health issues among unemployed)

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8 thoughts on “Benefit cuts cause surge in mental ill-health among jobseekers

  1. Dez

    Another example of them Tories not having any common sense or forward thinking whatsoever. If they drive the claimants into the NHS system, that cannot cope now, they will be paying out of the coffers money for expensive Pharma drugs and services trying to keep these folk from going insane with their unnecessary actions and behaviours.

  2. Jeffrey davies

    By the summer of 41 60000 people’s had been put to death skip forward to 2013 the dwp figures 97000 who had quietly paszed away when waiting or being sanctioned it’s a fact rtu ids had surpassed the nazis death toll today it must be beyond 26000
    Quarter of a million people’s who quite this earth yet on its going while they in parliament talk about in the side rooms of the house of I’ll repute jeff3

  3. Giri Arulampalam

    Many Benefit claimants are in work. They are also low-paid workers(e.g Zero-hour contracts, Short-term contracts etc).They depend on Benefits to “top-up” their low pay!

  4. Stepping Razor Sound Plate System

    The DWP are setting people up to get them off benefits by saying they are suicidal – They will also send the police round because the DWP phone operators with no medical knowledge has decided that person is going to commit suicide. The DWP operator gets a bonus each time he calls the police. The police have to investigate because the DWP have hyped up the things they say to the police. The police are getting sick & tired of the DWP crying wolf & wasting police time. The DWP drive people to suicide that is why it is called DWP Assisted Suicide.

  5. marcusdemowbray

    The UN must be informed and they must be pressured to start taking action. Whether you call this Eugenics or Genocide makes no odds, the UN must take action.

  6. Dez

    Some of the additional information about why DWP are manipulating those that need help come back to the unemploment data fix so that the Cons can lie that unemployment is falling thanks to their supposed good work. This situation is not good work it is downright evil work something the media seems reluctant to thoroughly investigate.

  7. John Costello

    It is becoming clear that the role of Jobcentre Plus is to enforce an increasingly punitive regime of benefit sanctions on those jobseekers who have been unable to find work.

    Those who have worked in the field of abuse will know that abuse is most likely to occur when people working for organisations where they are given discretionary powers are in regular and continuing contact with those who are relatively powerless (and these are often the most vulnerable members of society). These organisations also tend to develop a culture where bullying and intimidation become the norm.

    Iain Duncan Smith has created within the Department for Work and Pensions an environment where such abuse can flourish.

    John Costello
    Activist for ‘We Are Shadows’

  8. Dez

    Very true During my career this is exactly how departments reacted when new bully broom managers arrived and wanted to make an impression and get ahead. Usually a no prisoners example was made on any dissenters which was enough for self preservation to kick in throughout the herd which then sets off towards the nearest cliffs, the usual self destruction destination, when these lame brains take over. IDS is exactly that type and his following clones are from the same arse kicking greedy mold or more appropriate mould..

Comments are closed.