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The Everyday Realities of Welfare Reform
Author: Ruth Patrick

What does day-to-day life involve for those who receive out-of-work benefits? Is the political focus on moving people from ‘welfare’ and into work the right one? And do mainstream political and media accounts of the ‘problem’ of ‘welfare’ accurately reflect lived realities?

For whose benefit? The everyday realities of welfare reform explores these questions by talking to those directly affected by recent reforms. Ruth Patrick interviewed single parents, disabled people and young jobseekers on benefits repeatedly over five years to find out how they experienced the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and whether the welfare state still offers meaningful protection and security in times of need. She reflects on the mismatch between the portrayal of ‘welfare’ and everyday experiences, and the consequences of this for the UK’s ongoing welfare reform programme.

Exploring issues including the meaning of dependency, the impact of benefit sanctions and the reach of benefits stigma, this important book makes a timely contribution to ongoing debates about the efficacy and ethics of welfare reform.

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Author: Paul Spicker

65 Part III Benefits The National Insurance system introduced in 1948 failed to cover all the contingencies, and over time other benefits were developed to fill in the gaps. The system has grown progressively more complex. There are five main types of social security benefit. (Government leaflets used to describe three, but this meant that some very different kinds of benefit were lumped together.) The five are: 1. National Insurance (for example, Retirement Pension). These are benefits paid for by contributions. 2. Means-tested benefits (for

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Author: Stephen McKay

3 Journal of Poverty and Social Justice • vol 22 • no 1 • 3–10 • © Policy Press 2014 • #JPSJ Print ISSN 1759 8273 • Online ISSN 1759 8281 • http://dx.doi.org/10.1332/175982714X13910760153802 editorial Benefits, poverty and social justice Stephen McKay, University of Lincoln, UK smckay@lincoln.ac.uk The ongoing austerity policies combined with increasingly negative public views about benefits are generating the current crisis of social security benefits. Whilst in previous years there might have been greater concerns about administrative issues and take

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Author: Paul Spicker

117 Chapter 12 Universal benefits Universal benefits go to broad categories of people, without specific tests of means or needs. The most important is Child Benefit. There have been many proposals for extending the principle further, such as proposals for Negative Income Tax or Citizen’s Income, but none of the general systems proposed is able to deal with the diversity and complexity of circumstances that social security has to respond to. The main scope for universal benefits is to provide, like Child Benefit, an element of income that is stable

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Author: Paul Spicker

109 Chapter 11 Discretionary benefits Discretion is used to fill in gaps in the system, covering circumstances that are difficult to predict or generalise about. The most important benefit of this type currently is the Social Fund, which offers a range of grants and loans, including help in emergencies and help for people with problems of budgeting. Every social security system needs some element of discretion. The Social Fund, however, is being used not just for unpredictable or special needs, but to make up for the inadequacy of other benefits

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Author: Paul Spicker

125 Chapter 13 Claiming benefits The process of claiming has been transformed, following the movement away from local administration and paper-based assessments to computerised calculations managed by call centres. There is still a general assumption that the onus of claiming falls on the claimant, and this chapter tries to give some idea of what someone needs to do to receive a benefit. The system is complex, and many people do not claim the benefits they are entitled to. Welfare rights and advice have developed to help guide people through the

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Author: Peter Robson

323 SIXTEEN Housing Benefit Peter Robson In calling general attention to the PARISH ROLL for the current year, the HERITORS and KIRK SESSION flatter themselves, that from the great diminution of expenditure, since the publication of last year’s Lists, the inhabitants will be disposed to view with approbation, the measures that have been pursued, and are still in progress, to mitigate the pressure of Assessment: and ameliorate the condition of the Poor, by throwing them more on their own resources, and the kind attention of their neighbours and relatives. The

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Introduction In this article we look at systemic violence: the ‘life-shattering violence caused by decisions that are made in parliamentary chambers and government offices’ ( Cooper and Whyte, 2017 : 1) with regard to people with severe disabilities who are in receipt of disability benefits in the UK. We explore how this systemic violence is intrinsic to the political and social practices of maintaining a neoliberal welfare regime, with its predisposition towards the harmful targeting of populations on the wrong side of inequality, unable to meet the demands

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Author: Ruth Patrick

57 THREE The everyday realities of out-of-work benefits receipt ‘I’m 27 years old and live in a one bedroom flat. I am currently receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance. I am looking for a full-time job as a means to pay my bills and support myself but my long-term goal is to undergo full training to become a housing support worker. I have a seven-year-old daughter who comes and stays with me alternate weekends. I don’t receive any money for my daughter so most times I find myself going without a meal so she can eat when she’s in my care. I find it extremely

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Taxes, benefits and national profiles of inequality and poverty 197 TEN taxes, benefits and national profiles of inequality and poverty In this chapter, the discussion shifts from one of descriptive policy formation and design towards one of analysis of outcomes and a comparison of policy between the systems in 1979, 1997 and 2008. This chapter acts as a bridge between the earlier discussion and our model lifetime analysis in Chapters Eleven to Fourteen. We consider the aggregate empirical profiles of policy outcomes over time for the whole of Britain and

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