Charity ‘shocked’ by proposal to charge people to challenge benefits decisions

People who have been stripped of benefits could be charged by the government for trying to appeal against the decision to an independent judge, the Guardian is reporting.

In response to the report, Lara Carmona, head of campaigns and public affairs for the charity Rethink Mental Illness said:

“We are truly shocked by this proposal, which could effectively remove the right to appeal from thousands of ill and vulnerable people, by creating an impossible financial barrier. We know the current fit-for-work test is broken – in a court case last year, judges concluded that it’s is unfair for people with mental illness.

“Putting them through an assessment process which has been demonstrated to be unfair and then charging them for the opportunity to challenge incorrect decisions, would be totally unseasonable. Instead of introducing additional barriers, the government should focus on fixing the system, in order to create an assessment process that gets it right first time.”


For more information, contact Rachel Hobbs, News and Media Manager for Rethink Mental Illness on 0207 840 3138 or email

Notes to editors

Rethink Mental Illness is a charity that believes a better life is possible for millions of people affected by mental illness.

For 40 years we have brought people together to support each other. We run services and support groups that change people’s lives and challenge attitudes about mental illness.
We directly support almost 60,000 people every year across England to get through crises, to live independently and to realise they are not alone.

We give information and advice to 500,000 more and we change policy for millions.

For more information go to