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BJPsych Open. 2016 Jan 13;2(1):18-24. eCollection 2016 Jan.

Claims for sickness and disability benefits owing to mental disorders in the UK: trends from 1995 to 2014.

Author information

1
, Lic Med, MRCPsych, Severn Deanery, Bristol, UK.
2
, MBBS, MD, Division of Psychiatry, University College London, London, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

There is international concern about the levels of sickness and disability benefits, with mental disorders known to account for a large proportion of claims.

AIMS:

To examine trends in sickness and disability benefits awarded for mental disorders in the UK.

METHOD:

The researchers analysed UK Government data from 1995 to 2014.

RESULTS:

Mental disorders have become the most common cause of receiving benefits, with the number of claimants rising by 103% from 1995 to 1.1 million in 2014. Claimants with other conditions fell by 35%. In 2014, 47% of claims were attributed to a mental disorder. The number of long-term claimants (claiming over 5 years) with mental disorders increased by 87% from 2000 to 2011. Two-thirds of mental disorder claimants were classified as having a depressive or anxiety disorder.

CONCLUSIONS:

Common mental disorders may involve greater morbidity and social costs than usually recognised. Availability of suitable employment, as well as individual support, may be necessary to reduce benefit levels.

DECLARATION OF INTEREST:

None.

COPYRIGHT AND USAGE:

© The Royal College of Psychiatrists 2016. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Non-Commercial, No Derivatives (CC BY-NC-ND) licence.

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