Can I Claim Benefits if I Leave My Job Due to Depression?

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Money Savings Advice Can I Claim Benefits if I Leave My Job Due to Depression

If you have been forced to leave your employment due to depression, you will no doubt be worried about income. Your eligibility to claim benefits as sooner you leave employment will depend upon the reasons you left your previous job. In theory, those who leave their jobs “voluntarily” may need to wait up to 3 months to claim benefits.

Thankfully, there are safety nets in place for those who are effectively forced out of their job due to depression and other mental health issues.

We will now take a look at some of the more common questions asked on the subject.

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Will I Be Able to Claim Benefits As Soon as I Am Unemployed?

In theory, it is difficult to claim benefits if you left employment voluntarily. The situation is a little different when it comes to depression and other mental health issues. Two of the main exceptions relating to this particular scenario include:-

  • You didn’t feel safe in the workplace as health and safety standards were not met
  • You didn’t feel safe in the workplace because you were bullied or harassed by colleagues

Coincidentally, while these are two of the exceptions you may be able to use with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), they may open up your employer to personal injury claims.

Can I Claim a Hardship Payment?

If for some reason, you are ineligible for benefits on leaving work, you may qualify for a hardship payment. This is, in effect, a loan from the government which should be made available immediately. Rather than payback in one lump sum, the authorities will take the money from your benefits going forward - in small amounts on a regular basis.

Depression and Anxiety Often Come Together; What Are the Signs?

In reality, the signs will vary from person to person, scenario to scenario.

However, some of the main signs of depression include:-

  • Persistent anxiety and constantly feeling “low”
  • Continued pessimism
  • Loss of interest in out of office pursuits
  • Sudden weight gain/loss
  • Insomnia
  • Constantly sleeping
  • Increasingly irritable
  • Dependent on alcohol/drugs
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Constant lethargy

When you read the list, the chances are you will have come across one or more of these symptoms in isolation.

However, when you begin to recognize two, 3, 4 or more symptoms simultaneously, this is when alarm bells should start to ring.

Can My Doctor Sign Me Off Work?

Many people don’t realize, but the courts and UK laws now give as much credence to mental health issues as physical injuries. As a consequence, it may be an idea to discuss your situation with your doctor before deciding to leave employment.

If your doctor believes you are clinically depressed, there is every chance they will sign you off work until you can receive treatment. There is certainly no shame in taking time off work to recover from any form of mental illness/physical injury.

Should My Employer Be Supporting Me?

Under the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974, all employers have a legal duty of care towards their employees. If for some reason, you believe your employer is not fulfilling this legal duty of care, this could be classed as negligence.

If you can prove negligence led to your depression, then you may well be able to claim compensation. However, your first port of call should be informing your employer of issues in the workplace, which you believe brought on your depression.

How Do I Pursue Personal Injury Compensation?

As we touched on above, UK courts now give as much credence to mental health issues as they do to physical injuries. Therefore, if issues in the workplace have brought about depression and caused you to leave your employment, you may well have a valid claim.

The first thing to do is gather as much evidence as possible to support your claim.

This may include:-

  • Your medical records
  • Details of treatment received
  • Diary of issues in the workplace
  • Timeline of events
  • Details of pain and suffering pre and post leaving work
  • Failure of your employer to fulfil their duty of care
  • Photographic evidence
  • Witness statements
  • Details of similar issues in the workplace
  • Evidence that your employer has failed to address your complaints

While many of the issues are relatively powerful in their own right, the cumulative impact of various different types of evidence can be telling. Once you have gathered as much evidence as possible, it is time to approach a claims management company.

How Do I Appoint a Claims Management Company?

Upon approaching any claims management company, they will review your evidence and details of your case. After consideration, they will give you an independent analysis of your chances of success and how you may be able to enhance this.

If they believe you have a minimum 60% chance of claiming the compensation, they will likely offer to take on your case on a “no-win, no fee” basis. If they believe your case is not strong enough, you can still pursue compensation, but you would need to pay your own legal and additional expenses.

How Long Do I Have to Make a Claim?

There is a three-year timeframe in which to make a claim for compensation. This will either start on the day of your accident/injury or, as with medical injuries, the day you were diagnosed. During this period, you must lodge your claim with the defendant, who has 21 days to reply and three months to gather evidence.

When using a claims management company, they will be fully aware of the process, legal issues, and the timescale. This is why many people choose to use a claims manager company as opposed to pursuing compensation on their own.

Do I Have to Prove Negligence?

The law of tort specifies that in order to claim compensation, the claimant must prove negligence on behalf of one or more third parties. In this case, it would be your employer and their failure to fulfill their duty of care to protect your health and well-being in the workplace.

If negligence is obvious, with supporting evidence, then your employer may plead guilty and look towards an out-of-court settlement. In the event that they refute the allegations, the case will go before the courts where the appropriate ruling will be made.

What Compensation Can I Claim?

There are two types of compensation available when pursuing financial recompense for personal injuries. They are known as general damages, financial compensation for your pain and suffering, and special damages, financial recompense for costs incurred, lost income and cost of future medical treatment, etc.

This list for special damages is by no means exhaustive, but it gives you an idea of what you can claim. Basically, any costs already incurred or expected to be incurred directly as a consequence of your depression.

Summary

While there may well be extenuating circumstances you can prove to the DWP, it can be difficult to obtain immediate access to benefits on leaving employment voluntarily. The best course of action, though not always possible, would be to make a formal complaint to your employer.

If no action was forthcoming, then you may be able to get signed off by your doctor if you are showing symptoms of depression. As a consequence of your employer’s failure to protect your health and well-being, this may leave them open to accusations of negligence and potential compensation.

How Can Money Savings Advice Help You With Making a Personal Injury Compensation Claim?

Here at Money Savings Advice, we have partnered with some of the UK’s leading Personal Injury Claims management companies. They have already helped thousands of people claim compensation for injuries they have incurred, and they can do the same for you.

Choosing an independent claims management company means they won’t proceed with a claim unless they are sure it is in your best interests. They are also regulated by the FCA, which gives you an additional layer of protection.

If you would like to speak to one of these claim management companies who can help you make a compensation claim, then click on the below and answer the very simple questions.

Mark Benson

Mark Benson

Mark has been writing professionally for over ten years for the financial sector. Having started in the financial world as a stock-broker in central London and then moving to equities trader Mark is one of our senior financial writers who has a vast knowledge of multiple financial sectors.

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