The latest edition of the PIP Assessment Guide contains improved guidance for assessors on the significance of whether or not a claimant with a mental health condition is receiving medication.

Assessors very often use the fact that a claimant with, for example depression, is not receiving any medication as evidence that their condition must have very little effect on their daily living or mobility.

However, the guidance issued by the DWP now points out that the severity of a mental health condition “does not necessarily correspond with the type or dosage of medication that the claimant is receiving”.

The guide points out that factors such as side effects, problems complying with a medication regime or the medication not being effective for that individual may all result in someone with a severe condition not receiving medication.

The guidance also goes on to say that assessors should take into account the use of treatments such as psychological therapies instead of medication.

The document does not, unfortunately go on to point out the difficulty that many people have in getting access to therapies, due to a lack of provision in their area.

As a result, some people for whom medication is not appropriate will have no support whatsoever in spite of the severity of their condition.

The full text of the updated guidance on mental health medication is as follows:

When considering mental health medication HPs should remember that not all claimants with a mental health condition will be on medication or receiving therapy. Severity of a mental health condition does not necessarily correspond with the type or dosage of medication that the claimant is receiving. There are a number of reasons why a claimant may be unable or choose not to take mental health medication, for example, but not limited to:

poor compliance due to the nature of mental health condition

side effects or difficulty tolerating medication

lack of efficacy

preference for psychological therapy instead of medication

complicating factors, for example excessive alcohol consumption

Therefore absence of medication does not automatically mean that the health condition is not severe. However, HPs should consider the type and context of certain medications, for example use of depot antipsychotic injections in psychotic disorders.

HPs should also take into account that some medications are used to treat different conditions, for example some antidepressants are also licenced to treat anxiety. HPs must also consider the use of other treatments such as psychological therapies.

We’ll be updating our PIP guide to take account of these changes.

You can download a copy of the PIP Assessment Guide from this page.


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    Karen · 2 years ago
    I recently had a PIP Tribunal decision (23/12/2021), my award has stopped the same. I argued that due to suffering with ME/CFS/Fibromyalgia i do not take prescription medication for anxiety etc due to side effects, i use alternative treatment, as my specialist told me to limit meds due to sensitivities and side effects.

    Assessor (CAPITA)in their report stated " no specialist input, and no medication taken for mental health issues"

    There is no other specialists i can see for my condition that i haven't already seen, its' a very misunderstood disorder, no treatment is available, i have been left to cope by myself, and no specialist clinics in my area.

    My question is, since DWP updated their guidelines on 24/01/2022, does this mean cases like mine are going to be revisited, even thou my case was ruled by a Tribunal?
  • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
    Stacey · 2 years ago
    I got refused PIP as they said I was able to do things on my own, I suffer from very bad depression and anxiety I get medication for this from my GP, I also have issues with my back as I got stood on by a horse and broke 3 bones in my back and they basically said tough get on with it because I get physiotherapy well I got sent in the post exercises to do which don't help and the doctor gave me medication that doesn't work my back ceases up if I stand to long or sitting to long and keeps me up at night so I am constantly tired and this makes my anxiety worse. I have a 12 year old son who is very active and I struggle financially this also makes my depression and anxiety worse because I have to budget, I panic about his sports fees new clothes different footwear he needs for school, football training and trainers for after school plus he keeps growing constantly needing something he has outgrown!! I was working part time as I am a single mum but have had to apply for a full time job which has affected my mental health issues. I am going to appeal this but I think they will come back with the same answers.
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    B.Beth .T · 2 years ago
    My husband had a complete nervous breakdown after being promoted to a management post , he was brilliant at the analytical tasks he was doing at a lower grade but had no management skills or training ( this was BT in the 2000’s . ,after ill health retirement he withdrew completely and has never recovered . He was awarded Incapacity Benefit which isn’t much . We have really struggled and I cannot work due to physical disabilities.
    There has been no help for us apart from this site , you have helped me stay in the support group .

    12 years ago he was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. There is no support after diagnosis .

    This honest , honourable intelligent man is lost in a cruel impoverishing system and our families’ life has been devastated . He suffers intense guilt thinking he is less of a person as he cannot support his family, suicide attempts have happened .
    He has had medication but hated how much worse he felt so stopped taking them . GP’s have little knowledge of later life autism and ignore his insights .

    Due to all the negative press about ‘benefit scroungers’ etc he will not claim PIP which I think he would get .
    He thinks that doing any activity would null his entitlement. He’s no longer permitted to drive so a mobility award would pay for taxis to places , although he is terrified of going out now . We cannot have days out or holidays .

    The DWP is now one of those institutions who have Mission Statements.. phrases like ‘we aim to’ and ‘our focus is’ etc etc are the get out for appalling attitudes , dreadful service levels and fatal ‘customer’ outcomes .

    Apologies for the length of this comment , I just wish there was an easier more integrated social help system which actually wanted to help people have a decent life.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      D. S. · 1 years ago
      @B.Beth .T I don't know if you'll ever read this but your husband sounds a lot like me. I wonder how many of us there are out there. I hope you get the support you need to push a PIP application through all the hurdles. 
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    Steve Davies · 2 years ago
    It's not only mental health that the dwp use medication as an excuse for not giving out Pip in my assessment I told them I have non-epileptic seizures which I do not take medication for as there is no medication for non-epileptic seizures they stated in their report that I do not have epilepsy because I do not take any medication for it. I would also like to let you know that I had my Pip recorded however what was sent back on my assessment was still wrong as what I said was not noted down and they just changed everything to make it sound as if your issues are not as bad as they are, have sent back to mandatory for changing the wording on my transcript as the recording was different to what they have written, I have just contact the DWP and they have not changed any of the transcript so regardless whether you record your Pip assessment makes no difference to what they decide to put in the transcript even though I have proof on the recording. I am now escalating my complaint to the Independent complaints committee.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      UB40 Rumrunner · 2 years ago
      @Steve Davies A recording would make a difference at a tribunal or court setting.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Azee · 2 years ago
      @Steve Davies I'm also reading and researching plus watching youtube videos that this is happening to everyone currently. Apparently, they often lie or somehow put incorrect information about you at the assessment.
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    Emma · 2 years ago
    This is interesting. Perhaps benefits and work can look into the parallel issue for pain killers? It is my understanding that people who are in constant severe pain but cannot take strong pain killers due to other conditions are often disregarded as not in severe pain. I informally support a claimant who comes up against this when assessed.
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    Jenny Almeida · 2 years ago
    My son has schizophrenia and can only safely work part time but because he never got DLA or PIP he cannot claim working benefits unless he works full time. This is wrong. He is on Clozapine for which he needs a blood test every month and couldn't cope with full time work. Can you please address this situation?
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      LA68 · 2 years ago
      @Jenny Almeida Why can’t he apply or re-apply for DLA or PIP? Clozapine is not given out lightly suggesting his mental health is serious enough to require this.
    • Thank you for your comment. Comments are moderated before being published.
      Hi Jenny, you say your son su · 2 years ago
      @Jenny Almeida Hi Jenny, Clozapine is a powerful mental health drug and can only be given/ authorised by a psychiatrist. If as you say he’s got mental health problems, the community and mental health teams should be able to advise, this service might be thin on the ground. Surely periodic visits to the psychiatrist will have generated medical reports re: his mental condition, and this is evidence for benefits that he would be entitled to. Without this basic evidence the DWP will not entertain a benefits claim. Suggest you contact his mental health worker, his GP, and psychiatrist for more answers. I say this as I am a carer for my son with same, not on the above but a monthly depo.
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