By: Nina Lakhani, The Independent
Monday, 27 October 2008
People with mental health problems will be driven into poverty by the introduction of a new benefit today, campaigners have warned.
Around half of applicants for the employment and support allowance are expected to be rejected because of much stricter rules, forcing thousands of people with mental health problems on to the much less generous job-seekers allowance, or into jobs they are unable to cope with and which could lead to a relapse in their conditions.
Thousands more will face tough new sanctions on the benefit which replaces incapacity benefit, if they fail to attend regular work-based activities and interviews. This could lead to benefits being withdrawn completely.
Experts say this fails to take into account the erratic nature of mental illness and could leave sick people destitute.