Use your voice to help change the UK's social security assessment process

Rethink Mental Illness wants to influence the UK government to improve the social security system.

We are currently looking at what improvements can be made to welfare assessments and the way that the Department for Work and Pensions approaches conditionality.

We want to hear from people living with mental illness who have experienced social security assessments to identify the needed improvements.

To find out if you’re eligible to get involved, fill in our online survey or contact by 18th May 2024.

About the project


The aim is to review social security capability assessments, focusing on:

  • What changes are needed to improve the Work Capability Assessment and Personal Independence Payment processes and assessments.
  • To better understand the specific needs and challenges of people severely affected by mental illness, including those from minoritised ethnic backgrounds, and those living with multiple, comorbid health conditions when undergoing a Work Capability Assessment and applying for Personal Independence Payment.
  • Your experience of engaging with work coaches and assessors, and what could make this a experience safe, appropriate, and fair. 

How you can get involved

We are asking for about two half days of your time across the four phases of the project, with remuneration of £50 per engagement session.

If you currently receive any welfare benefits, understanding the potential impact of accepting payment for involvement in this project is really important. While remuneration (involvement payments) for your time is voluntary, it's important to know that receiving involvement payments can affect certain benefits e.g. universal credit.

It is your responsibility to comply with the conditions of your benefits. However, we have a responsibility to provide information which helps you to make informed decisions about whether to join an involvement opportunity like this, and whether to accept involvement payment.

We strongly advise talking your work coach before accepting payment. If you want to go ahead, we can provide a letter for you to give to your work coach, explaining what your involvement is, and that it is not employed work but is known as ‘service user involvement’, a term that they should be aware of.


Who we want to hear from


We would like to talk to you about your experiences of the social security process, if you:

  • Are over 18 years of age
  • Are severely affected by mental illness, or are a carer for someone who is
  • Have (or someone you care for has) historically been in the Department for Work and Pensions Severe Disability Group
  • Have (or someone you care for has) historically been sanctioned by the Department for Work and Pensions

We would be especially keen to hear from:

  • People who are Black, Asian, or from a minoritised ethnic group
  • People from Gypsy, Roma, and Traveller communities
  • People living with a physical disability, and/or with multiple, comorbid health and mental health issues
  • People who are neurodivergent
  • People from the LGBTQIA+ community
  • Older adults
  • People with current or historical experience of homelessness
  • Refugees and asylum seekers

This is not an exhaustive list. If you are not from a group listed above, and fulfil the criteria to participate, we are still very interested in hearing from you.

Download our information and eligibility form to learn more about who can take part. 

To find out if you’re eligible to get involved, fill in our online survey or contact by 18th May 2024.