The government is piloting ways to get more people with mental health problems into work by combining earlier treatment with employment support.
Ministers want to cut benefits spending and get more people into jobs.
Thousands of Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants could be affected by the changes.
The Department for Work and Pensions said treatment would not be mandatory in the pilot scheme but that remained an “idea” for the future.
Those seeking to claim ESA – income support for people who are too ill or disabled to work – currently undergo mandatory tests carried out by a doctor or healthcare professional.
These are known as Work Capability Assessments and are aimed at discovering if people are eligible for benefits, or if they are actually fit enough to work.
Critics of the checks say delays and wrong decisions have caused distress to disabled and vulnerable people.
These new pilot schemes will now see mental health assessments, focusing on such issues as anxiety and depression, included in that process. Any subsequent therapy recommendations are not currently mandatory.
It has been reported that some 260,000 ESA claimants have mental health issues.