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Welfare Reform on the Web (November 2006): Social security - UK

Mental health problems: is employment the answer?

M. Meacher

Mental Health Review, vol.11, Sept. 2006, p.4-7

This article considers the impact of the government’s proposed reforms of Incapacity Benefit on mental health services users. It assumes that the majority of claimants with mental health problems will be considered fit to work in the medium term. For these people the proposed new system offers a range of incentives to find work rather than remain on benefits. The article concludes that, with some adjustments, it could offer greater work opportunities to people with mental health problems than ever before.

Reforming housing benefit: improving work incentives

A. Doyle and N. Smith

Working Brief, issue 177, 2006, p.16-19

By 2008, the Local Housing Allowance will replace Housing Benefit for all tenants in the private rented sector. The Allowance will in most cases be paid directly to tenants rather than their landlord, and will be calculated on the basis of the average local rent for a property of a suitable size for the applicant household. This article considers the possible impact of the reform on employment rates, specifically amongst those with experience of homelessness. It concludes that most homeless people will be unaffected by the Local Housing Allowance as they do not access accommodation in the private sector.

Transformation of the Personal Capability Assessment: report of the Physical Function and Mental Health Technical Working Groups

Department for Work and Pensions, 2006

This report focuses on recommendations for the revision of the Personal Capability Assessment (PCA) mental and physical function assessments. It proposes an extensively revised mental function assessment, to address the current gap in the assessment of cognitive and intellectual function in conditions such as learning disability, autism, and brain injury. It also proposes a new scoring system for mental function, which addresses a bias in the current PCA against people with a mental health problem as opposed to a physical disability. Review of the physical function assessment focused on ensuring that the activities assessed and scores allocated accurately reflect the level of fnctional limitation at which it unreasonable to require a person to work.

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