Please note that from April 2013 there have been changes to the benefit system and some of the benefits listed below will be phased out or replaced by others throughout 2013-14. You can find further information and a short film about the changes at Sheffield City Council's website here.
Having money is vitally important in enabling people to meet their basic living costs, take part in the activities that they enjoy, and engage with society in general. People with mental health problems are often unable to work or to earn enough to support themselves and their dependents. There are a number of state benefits for which people can apply, including:
The Social Fund also provides grants and loans to help people in certain situations, such as community care grants to help with the costs of setting up a home. People who have a job but are too ill to work are also entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).
If an application for benefits is turned down or you feel you have received a poor service, it is possible to appeal and have your case looked at again. The Citizens Advice Bureau provides guidance on how to do this.
People who are claiming benefits are allowed to volunteer at the same time but there are some rules around claiming expenses and whether or not the voluntary activity meets the conditions of the benefits that they are on. For a Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) guide on this topic, click here.
A number of national charities offer information resources and provide welfare benefits support for people with mental health problems. For example, Mind have produced guidance on where to find help with problems relating to benefits and also answers to some frequently asked questions about benefits. Rethink have an online guide to the benefits system with updates on recent changes and how they could affect people.