Conor D’Arcy, Head of Research and Policy, Money and Mental Health
Money and mental health at a time of crisis
2 April 2020
This policy note looks at the financial challenges people with mental health problems face during the coronavirus outbreak – and what government, regulators and firms should do to address these problems.
In particular, it raises concerns that people with mental health problems will struggle to access benefits and the government’s new support measures during the current crisis.
We’re calling for the government to do more to protect people with mental health problems from dramatic income drops, and to ensure they can access the financial support they need. We also want regulators and firms to make it easier for people to access essential services, and to make sure no one gets cut off.
Key recommendations include:
- The government should guarantee that people with mental health problems receive interim payments while they are making benefits claims
- It should also extend the time periods for application paperwork to be submitted and telephone appointments made, to avoid disadvantaging people who may struggle due to a mental health problem
- Government can also help more people access benefits by boosting the number of telephone advisors available, and introducing new communication channels such as webchat for people to contact the DWP.
- Regulators should monitor the actions of essential service firms, and ensure no customers are disconnected by telecoms providers during the response to the coronavirus.