Can people with anxiety claim benefits in the UK?
Anxiety is sometimes debilitating. You want to go to work, but you cannot open your eyes, let alone get out of bed. Life is a struggle - more days than not you want to curl up in a ball, pull the duvet over your head and hide from the world forever. As you do this everything feels better for the merest sliver of a second. Then you remember you have responsibilities.
You have the rent to pay. It's your best friend’s birthday this month and he wants you to join him for a night out. The car insurance is due the following month and the energy bill was set incorrectly, and you now have that hanging over you. So, losing your job is not an option.
Your mind doesn't know whether to focus on the anxiety of getting through the day or the worry about how you will fund life if you lose your job. Whilst you think the fear should motivate you to spring out of bed and jump into the shower, ready to sprint into work, it does not happen. In about an hour you will make your second sick call of the week. Your boss understands but keeping your job will take more than understanding at this rate.
Having some hypnotherapy sessions will help with your feelings, but you might wonder what other support options you have?
What benefits can I claim for depression and anxiety UK?
In the UK we used to have:
- Child Tax Credit
- Housing Benefit
- Income Support
- Income-based Jobseeker’s Allowance (JSA)
- Income-related Employment and Support Allowance (ESA)
- Working Tax Credit
These helped people on a low or no income. In 2010, the Government announced a new benefit called Universal Credit that combines the six above. Roll out began in 2013 and they expect it to complete in 2024, and there is the option to continue to claim some of the above as it rolls out. The benefit is for people on a low income and eligibility is means-tested.
In 2012 a personal independence payment (PIP) replaced the disability living allowance. PIP is for people over the age of 16 and below state pension age who:
- Have difficulties with daily living or getting around (or both) and have for at least three months.
- Expect the difficulties to continue for at least nine months.
Whilst there are no specific benefits for anxiety in the UK, eligibility for PIP does include difficulties in
- speaking to others
- paying bills
- going on journeys; including planning and following
- cooking and eating
- taking care of your personal hygiene
In 2017, there was controversy when a high court ruling found that people with mental health conditions experienced discrimination within the PIP policy. The regulations did not regard psychological distress enough of a restriction to independent travel to receive the payment. The high court ruled this unlawful. So, those that cannot make a familiar journey alone because of psychological distress do now meet the criteria providing you meet the other required components.
The benefits system in the UK is not clear to everyone. You might look at the information and feel like running away – especially if you already feel anxious or depressed. The benefits listed above certainly do not cover every UK benefit. You might find you are eligible for another benefit due to your circumstances outside of anxiety or depression.
There are many charities and organisations that offer financial support to those with mental health conditions including but not limited to Mental Health and Money Advice, Mind, Turn2Us, c-App and Citizens Advice.
You might also wish to check your eligibility for social care if you need practical help and support. If you find yourself unable to buy food, check the Trussell Trust website to find your nearest foodbank. The most important thing is to ask for help and continue to ask until you find or get the support you need.
How can hypnotherapy help?
The vicious circle between knowing you need support with your mental health and feeling unable to afford it can make you feel stuck in a box. When I help people in this situation with hypnotherapy, we speak about ways to prioritise money.
I always say to take it one session at a time – one session is better than no sessions. Although, some people do find it easier to save up for a block of sessions, and then begin once they have that and know they can commit to it.
When I work with people in this situation, we focus on the specific problem and ways to help improve their financial situation, so everything starts to feel easier.