Funding opportunity – Targeted welfare support for people with severe mental illness (SMI)

January 13, 2023
Published by Dudley CVS

Posted on behalf of the Mental Health Transformation & Integration Team, Black Country Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust:

People with severe mental illness face a number of inequalities that have a negative impact on the length and quality of their lives.

We want to begin to reduce inequalities by offering proactive welfare rights support to make sure that people with severe mental illness are getting all the benefits and financial support they are entitled to.

When health organisations talk about ‘severe mental illness’, we mean: a mental health problem that severely impairs the ability of a person to undertake most activities of daily living such as holding down a job, looking after themselves or their families, or managing their money. 1% of the population is known (via GP records) to have a severe mental illness. People with severe mental illness often have a diagnosis of psychosis but they may have other diagnoses such as severe depression or anxiety.

Dudley, Sandwell and Wolverhampton are paying for extra local authority welfare rights officers to take on specialist case work for people with severe mental illness.

Overall aims of the project:

1.     Address inequalities in access to welfare support for people with a severe mental illness.

2.     Provide a proactive, systematic approach to offering benefit checks to people with a severe mental illness.

3.     Maximise the income for those entitled to benefits with a severe mental illness.

4.     Help individuals to access other support they are eligible for/need.

These officers will do more than check eligibility and give advice. They will work with mental health teams and GPs, and liaise with the Department for Work and Pensions, to get as many people with severe mental illness as possible the benefits they are entitled to.

The role of the voluntary sector in this project

£200k across Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton has been ring-fenced for voluntary sector organisations. The purpose of this funding is to make sure that those with a severe mental illness furthest away from services, who often miss out on support, can benefit from this project.

The project is running between April 2023 and March 2024.

We would like to start some conversations with organisations who:

·      Have good relationships with adults experiencing severe mental illness who are often missed by statutory services.


·      have expertise in providing benefit checks and welfare support in the community, have existing relationships with local authority welfare rights teams


·      are in a position to work collaboratively with the local authority welfare teams, the mental health lead provider (Black Country Foundation Trust), primary care and other third sector organisations.

To find out more, an online briefing will take place on Wednesday 18 January at 3pm, please contact for a link to join the event.

If you would like to be part of this work, please email with an expression of interest (maximum 500 words). Please describe how your organisation is suited to this project in terms of welfare rights expertise / community reach and ability to work collaboratively.

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