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New incapacity test "raises the bar too high"

Mental health charity Mind believe the new proposed incapacity benefit test could force thousands of people back to work before they are ready.

The charity say that the new incapacity test raises the bar for claiming benefits too high.

Mind's Director of Policy Sophie Corlett said: "The vast majority of people who experience mental distress want to return to employment as soon as possible.

"Incapacity benefit gives them the opportunity to access counselling services, participate in voluntary work and be helped to successfully return to work at an appropriate pace."

The charity says it is concerned that under the new arrangements, too many people will fall short of the incapacity benefit test and be coerced onto job seekers allowance benefit, which does not offer the same degree of specialist support.

Sophie Corlett adds: "Unfortunately, many employers are still not very understanding about mental health problems.

"We fear that thousands of people with mental health problems will be under pressure to take up inappropriate work and risk becoming ill again. They will find themselves caught in a devastating cycle where they are turfed out of their new job and back onto benefits.

"This won't be good for the individual's health or for the economy."