Big Book of Benefits and Mental Health 2016/17

Publication date: 2016 Edition: 16th Format: Paperback, 400 pages Published by: Big Book of Benefits
ISBN: 978-0-9954595-0-2

The latest edition is due in April, 2017. If you still wish to purchase this edition, please contact us on 020 7812 5227 or 

The Big Book has updated user-friendly information, tips, tactics and sample forms to support anyone living with mental health problems and those who advise them, in the ever changing world of “welfare reforms”. 

Written in an engaging, informal style with many illustrations and copious examples, this book aims to make complex information about benefits more accessible and digestible, while retaining the clarity and accuracy needed to ensure its usefulness. 

All chapters have been revised and updated for this 2016/7 edition, with the latest changes, rates, news and implementation timetables.

New features for this edition include:

  • Welfare reform overview - updated tables of changes, overview, news and commentary including the new £12 billion cuts and changes at the top.

  • Personal independence payment - top ten tips through the claims process, sample PIP2 forms with updated page by page guidance, NEW: surviving the switch to PIP, new supporting evidence and PIP caselaw;

  • Universal credit - revised rollout plans, top tips for common issues (based on pathfinder areas experience), the new Digital Service, updated calculation sheets, surplus earnings, UC disability and pensioner gaps, the work allowance cuts and the “two child” policy.

  • Tax Credits: updates, of two rabbits and a hat, cuts ahead - and limited protections - on transfer to UC, the “two child” policy.

  • Employment and support allowance - the popular page by page guidance and examples ESA50 / UC50 mental health and physical pages, waiting days, relationship with UC, revised caselaw, future changes.

  • Means tested benefits and Pension Credit: revised and updated, relationship with UC.

  • Social Fund - latest news on the devolved and local replacement schemes.

  • Paying for housing - updated for bedroom tax arguments, general HB changes and mortgage interest changes, costs and barriers when moving. and futures and sanctions figures.

  • Options for work: how are options for work looking now – old and new systems, protecting entitlements if things don’t work out, new work conditionality, changes to the Work Programme.

This book is extensively used by community mental health teams, social workers, advisers, housing support workers and people affected by mental distress and their carers. If you advise people with mental health problems this book is a must. The advice and guidance it contains on issues such as personal independence payment and support for carers can also be used to advise on other health conditions or disabilities.

Author Tom Messere is an experienced welfare rights adviser and trainer, writes for Mental Health Today and is joint author of the NAWRA benefits changes chart. He gratefully acknowledges the work of other advisers in checking copy and sharing ideas and experience.

‘Although predominantly aimed at claimants with mental health problems, and their advisers, the content is relevant to a much wider audience. There really is everything you need here, from the 'three steps' approach to the benefits system, through practical guidance on completing the ESA50 to detailed coverage of PIP and Universal Credit… As a tactical handbook, that is not frightened to give its opinion on the current direction of social security, it is unequalled.,’ - ADVISER

‘An essential piece of kit for all community mental health teams, community psychiatric nurses, approved social workers and voluntary groups as well as general benefit advisers... If you have a mental health problem and are trying to cope with the benefit system or if you’re a professional wanting to give good solid advice there’s no better guide that you can buy...' - COMMUNITY CARE

'This substantial but tremendously accessible handbook could well be one of the most useful guides around ...' - HEALTH AND CARE.COM

‘Judy’s work often made more of an impact on the quality of life of our service users than any pills, potions, therapy or support that we were able to offer’ – CMHT TEAM LEADER

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