Applying for the Limited Capability for work related activity element of Universal credit if you suffer with mental health.

Today, Benefits Adviser Lorraine Moss writes in the Havering Daily.

A few weeks ago, we looked at applying for Personal independence Payment (PIP) when you suffer with mental health problems.  This week we are going to look at The Limited Capability For Work related Activity Element of Universal Credit.

It is a similar assessment to PIP but this is about your actual ability to work whilst PIP is regarding your Daily living and Mobility. 

You will have to fill out the “Capability For Work” questionnaire which is called the UC form. This form can be downloaded form the internet, please see UC50 form: Universal Credit capability for work questionnaire – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk) or if you do not have access to the internet of the facility to print, you can ask your work coach to send you a paper copy. 

The first 5 question on this form are all regarding physical functions.

Question 6 is regarding communication, speaking, writing and typing.  If you suffer with anxiety and or Depression.  Although you may be able to do these 3 things, it may cause you a great deal of distress.  Many people find it very difficult to speak to other people on the phone.  People who suffer from Depression may be able to write and type but they simply do not have the energy to do it. 

Question 7 is regarding hearing and reading.  Many of the people who I speak to who suffer with mental health tell me that they have difficulty processing information.  Although they can read, they may have to read the same thing several times and even then, they are still not able to understand.  The same thing also can apply to when someone is talking to you.  You may be able to hear them ok but again they are not able to always process the information that they have heard.  

Question 10 is “Staying Conscious when awake”  .  Some people who suffer with Bipolar Disorder can experience blackouts .  You need to think whether your health condition can make you lose focus completely and you  are not in control of what you are doing.  Make sure that you give specific examples when you answer this question. 

Question 11 is “learning how to do tasks.  The first part of the question is “can you learn how to do an everyday task such as setting an alarm clock?”

The second part of the question is “can you learn to do a more complicated task such as using a washing machine?”

There may be times when you can do both of the above but you need to think about when you are having a bad day, are you able to concentrate enough to do things like this.  Make sure that you give examples and explain how often you have problems with new tasks. 

Question 12 Is awareness of hazards or danger.  This question asks if you can stay safe when doing everyday tasks such as boiling water or using sharp objects and do you need someone to stay with you for most of the time to stay safe?

If you have problems with self harming, then it is not advisable for you to be left alone with sharp objects.  If you suffer with your concentration, something like boiling water could be potentially dangerous if you leave it unattended.  Give examples of the type of problems that you have. 

Question 13  is “Starting and Finishing Tasks” .  It asks “Can you manage to plan, start and finish daily tasks? It does not give you specific examples.  If you think about the everyday things that you have to do.  For example, would you be able to put washing in the machine and remember that you need to take it out when the cycle is finished to hang it out to dry.  Do you remember to empty your bins and put the rubbish out the day that the binmen do their collection?  Make sure that you give examples of the problems that you have. 

Question 14 is “Coping with changes” .  The first question is “Can you cope with small changes to your routine if you know about them before they happen?  The example given is things like having a meal earlier or later than usual, or an appointment time being changed.

The second question is “Can you cope with small changes to your routine if they are unexpected?” The examples given are things like your bus or train not running on time, or a friend or carer coming to your house earlier or later than planned.

Think about your health condition and the impact a change can have on you.  Some people especially if they suffer from anxiety, have to mentally prepare themselves for things and if all of a sudden, this changes and is earlier than expected, it can cause them severe distress.  Make sure you give examples in your answers.

Question 15 is “Going Out” The first question is “Can you leave home and go out to a place you know?”  The second question is “Can you leave home and go to places you do not know?”

You need to explain how your health condition affects you going out.  For example, many people who suffer with anxiety will not leave the house unless they have someone to come with them and this could be to familiar and unfamiliar places.  Someone who suffers from Agoraphobia may not be able to leave the house at all even if they had someone to accompany them.  Explain the problems that you have and try to give examples if possible. 

Question 16 is “Coping With Social Situations” .  The first question is “Can you meet people you know without feeling too anxious or scared?” The second question is “Can you meet people you do not know without feeling too anxious or scared?”

When people are having a bad day, they sometimes withdraw themselves from even their closest family and friends whilst other times they may be happy to see people who are familiar to them.  You need to explain how your condition impacts on you socially and how often.  It may be that if someone is not familiar to you, you would have to have someone with you for support.

Question 17 is “Behaving Appropriately” The question asked is “How Often do you behave in a way that upsets other people? “  

You need to think about how your behaviour impacts on others.  It may help to ask your close family and friends about how you interact with them.  Also, this would not just mean being argumentative or difficult with people, sometimes being withdrawn and not interacting with people can also have an impact on the people around you.  Try to give examples and explain how often it happens. 

Question 15 is “Eating and Drinking”.  The first question is “can you get food or drink to your moth without help or being prompted by another person?”  The second question is “Can you chew and swallow food or drink without help or being prompted by another person?”

You may be able to physically eat and drink ok.  However, if for example, you are suffering from depression, you may go for days without eating.  It may be that you rely on friends and family to constantly remind you to eat and drink. Explain the problems that you have and give examples. 

Useful Links 

Claiming Universal Credit If You Have A Disability Or Health Condition. – The Havering Daily

How to claim Universal credit with a mental health condition : Mental Health & Money Advice (mentalhealthandmoneyadvice.org)

The Havering Daily