New analysis by Legal & General, using Department of Work and Pensions statistics, has shown that over 260,000 people are claiming Employment and Support Allowance because of mental and behavioural disorders, an increase of over 29% since 2010.
ESA is the government’s sickness benefit and is paid to people who cannot work because of ill-health or disability.
In May 2011, 265,530 people were claiming ESA because of mental and behavioural disorders, an increase of over 29% since May 2010 when there were 205,700 clamants. Of this number;
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ 73,600 (over 27% of the total number of claimants) are aged between 35-44, an increase of over 29% compared to 2010.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ 61,230 (over 23% of the total number of claimants) are aged between 24-34, an increase of nearly 28% compared to 2010.
Ã¢â‚¬Â¢ The largest percentage increase (66.90%) was in the +60 age-group.
The analysis has been conducted at a time when the government is reviewing the way it handles absence in the workplace. ‘Health at work- an independent review of sickness absence’, by Dame Carol Black and David Frost CBE, was presented to Parliament in November 2011. The Government is yet to respond.
The new figures highlight the importance of early notification and specialist support to help employees and employers with absence. Early notification enables Legal & General to draw on it’s built up team of specialist partners to help get people back to work. For example, employees who are absent from work because of stress are offered up to 24 sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) from CBT Services Limited. Over 76% of such employees were able to return to work within 18 months of diagnosis.
CBT Services Limited have commented how they work with people who are dealing with mental health issues every day – who tell them how important this approach can be in helping them get back into the workplace.
Commenting on the analysis, Diane Buckley, Managing Director of Legal & General Group Protection, said:
“The fact that there are more than 260,000 individuals claiming sickness benefits for mental and behavioural disorders is concerning. These figures show how important it is for employers to provide good quality support for people in the workplace.”