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British taxpayers are shelling out an astonishing £292 million a year in disability benefits to people claiming to have ADHD, The Mail on Sunday can reveal.

Our investigation shows that spending on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) claims has shot up from just £700,000 per year in 2013 – a rise of more than 41,000 per cent.

The payments are included in a staggering £5.1 billion of public sector cash given out last year under Personal Independence Payments (PIP) for mental disorders, compared with £34.4 million in 2013, when the scheme was introduced.

The Mail on Sunday has found that an industry has sprung up to help claimants secure the payments, worth up to almost £800 a month. 

Recipients do not always need a medical diagnosis, nor are they means tested – so they are free to earn other income or have hefty savings.

British taxpayers are shelling out an astonishing £292 million a year in disability benefits to people claiming to have ADHD , The Mail on Sunday can reveal (stock photo)

Our investigation shows that spending on Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) claims has shot up from just £700,000 per year in 2013 ¿ a rise of more than 41,000 per cent (stock photo)

‘Disability influencers’ on YouTube and TikTok coach people on how to beat ‘trick questions’ on PIP application forms, helping score as many points as possible to receive the maximum allowance.

One self-proclaimed ‘PIP consultant’ charges £650 to fill in a claim form and boasts: ‘I’m really good at PIP – I have a high success rate. I’ve only lost one claim in six years.’

Our findings come after the Work and Pensions Secretary last week said Britons must revert to the ‘old-fashioned belief’ that work is good for you and that the nation is in danger of over-medicalising mental health.

Mel Stride – who previously said mental health culture may have ‘gone too far’ – warned: ‘We need to be having a grown-up and sensible conversation about where we’re going with mental health. We need to look carefully at whether we are beginning to label or medicalise conditions that in the past would have been seen as the ups and downs of life.

‘Perhaps it’s an old-fashioned belief, but I think that it’s one that needs to come back into fashion, is that work is good for you – work is good for your mental health.’

Our audit reveals how:

  • PIP given to those with depression and anxiety disorders accounted for £1.8 billion last year – up from £11.7 million in 2013;
  •  Spending on autism claims, which stood at £2.3 million in 2013, rose to just over £1 billion last year;
  • 27.5 per cent of all PIP awards are now for mental conditions, compared with just 16 per cent in 2013.

Last night, critics condemned the figures for ‘making a mockery of the system’.

Joanna Marchong, of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: ‘The surge from millions to billions in certain disability benefits is making a mockery of the system, which is designed to help people in need.

‘What will horrify Brits is that there is an industry of unscrupulous con artists masquerading as consultants, helping scroungers to swindle taxpayers. Ministers need to crack down on these practices and ensure only those who are genuinely deserving receive payments.’

Our findings come after the Work and Pensions Secretary, Mel Stride last week said Britons must revert to the 'old-fashioned belief' that work is good for you

Recipients do not always need a medical diagnosis, nor are they means tested ¿ so they are free to earn other income or have hefty savings (stock photo)

Tory MP and former Cabinet minister David Jones branded the level of the ADHD claims as ‘shocking’ and hit out at the way people were being coached to get the allowances.

He told The Mail on Sunday: ‘It is truly outrageous that these benefit claims have reached such extraordinary levels. But it is also shocking that people are being coached by so-called ‘disability influencers’ to beat the system.’

The former Brexit minister added: ‘Anyone with a genuine condition should be able to receive help. But people who are needlessly making a claim are cheating not just the taxpayer but other more needy people.’ He added: ‘But Mel Stride was right to raise the issue of whether we are beginning to label everyday challenges as serious medical conditions.

‘The International Monetary Fund warned we were the economy set to shrink, and we need to reduce excess benefits and taxes.’

The payments were introduced in 2013 to help with costs arising from ill health or disability. To determine eligibility, applicants are awarded points on how they answer a claim form, which asks questions such as ‘Does your condition affect your eating and drinking?’ and ‘Does your condition affect you washing?’

Over the past decade there has been an astonishing increase in successful claims for mental conditions, including for depression, anxiety, ADHD and autism.

In one TikTok video, with more than 500,000 views, a woman says that using the term ‘time blindness’ – lack of the concept of time – when referring to showering could help score points. She also says eating meals with ADHD could be difficult because you do not ‘experience hunger the same way as other people’.

There is also growing controversy over ADHD diagnosis. Kate Silverton, the former BBC newsreader turned child therapist, last month warned against the quick diagnosis of children.

Official figures show that 37 per cent of the 3.3 million PIP claimants have a psychiatric disorder.

The MoS investigation comes with Britain’s sick note culture on the rise. The Policy Exchange reported last week that health workers in England issued 11 million sick notes last year, compared to 5.3 million in 2015.

A Department for Work and Pensions spokesman said: ‘Our disability assessors are qualified health professionals. We conduct regular reviews to ensure payments are going to the right people.’

You don’t need loads of evidence, boasts YouTuber charging £650 for tips on how to get state funded cash

From a wooden shed at the foot of her garden, Charlotte Anderson runs a lucrative benefits hustle.

Through her YouTube channel, she uses insider know-how to fill out customers’ disability applications – at £650 a pop.

But the hefty price tag comes with a virtual guarantee: she boasts she has ‘only ever lost one claim in six years’.

Ms Anderson, 46, from Bucknall in Staffordshire, has made dozens of videos telling tens of thousands of viewers how to claim benefits, known as Personal Independence Payments, for physical and mental health conditions.

She uses her platform to direct viewers to her digital shop front, which offers paid services ranging from £60 for a ‘document check’ to £650 in exchange for a two-hour meeting and the filling out of an entire claim form.

From a wooden shed at the foot of her garden, Charlotte Anderson runs a lucrative benefits hustle

Through her YouTube channel, she uses insider know-how to fill out customers' disability applications ¿ at £650 a pop

Ms Anderson receives the maximum PIP – now £798.63 per month – as she has chronic fatigue and severe arthritis. Before that, she worked as a contracts manager at a logistics company.

Now she’s a full-time YouTuber and disability advocate. The self-proclaimed ‘PIP consultant’ also rents out her bungalow and lives in the shed she broadcasts from.

PIP is not means-tested, so Ms Anderson can receive payouts regardless of her income, savings or assets. And business is booming.

In January, she had 33 clients and was forced to temporarily stop offering appointments because the consultancy was ‘too successful’.

Many of her videos open with the declaration that she has a ‘100 per cent success rate at winning PIP’.

Ms Anderson says that, in half of the cases she wins, her clients ‘have purely mental health conditions’ – as opposed to any physical illness or disability.

But the hefty price tag comes with a virtual guarantee: she boasts she has 'only ever lost one claim in six years'.

In one video about scoring highly on the PIP assessment with a mental health issue, she declares: ‘You have to be able to explain to PIP how you feel, so if you struggle with anxiety you have to explain how it feels for you.’

The YouTuber has also said: ‘People get so obsessed with evidence – you don’t need loads of evidence, you just don’t. No doctor, no specialist, no psychologist can explain how you feel.’

She admits that fraudsters could be watching her videos and using her tips to wrongly win benefits: ‘Yes there are going to be fakers that watch my videos and try to abuse the system – that is PIP’s job to manage that.

‘I know the Department for Work and Pensions are monitoring me… I don’t care.’

Ms Anderson was approached for comment.

Do you think you may suffer from ADHD and live in Florida, California or New York?

If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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