Statistics released by the DWP following a freedom of information request show that almost 380,000 people who are in the support group of employment and support allowance (ESA) are not getting an award of personal independence payment (PIP) or disability living allowance (DLA). Six out of ten of these claimants have mental health conditions.
The rules for being awarded PIP are very different to those for being placed in the support group of ESA. Nevertheless, the criteria for ESA support group are strict and there is a considerable overlap between the two benefits.
In relation to mental health, ESA descriptors relating to problems with learning task, awareness of hazards, initiating actions, coping with change and social engagements and behaving appropriately would all be relevant to PIP and to DLA.
However, the difficulty of getting information and advice about eligibility for benefits as funding for the advice sector continues to fall means that many ESA claimants may not be aware of their potential eligibility for PIP.