10 August 2020
People with mental health difficulties should not be threatened with benefit sanctions while they are out of work, according to a consensus statement signed by Centre for Mental Health and 12 other organisations.
The Consensus statement on the use of sanctions in the benefits system calls on the UK Government to end the use of benefit sanctions. First published in 2019, the consensus statement sets out the case for changing the benefits system to ensure no one is denied effective support with employment and no one is left in poverty as a result of a benefit sanction.
It states that: “No one with a mental health condition, however, should ever be mandated to look for work, or to face the threat of having their benefit payments reduced. Neither conditions nor sanctions have been shown to work or to be safe for people with mental health difficulties, and as a result we believe they should be stopped."
Earlier this year, the UK Government suspended the application of benefit sanctions during the lockdown. Centre for Mental Health believe that this provided an important opportunity to take stock of the use of sanctions and review whether they are safe or effective.