The reality of life on benefits

85% of benefits claimants feel an institutional stigma

The actuality of living on benefits is often far removed from what the general public assumes.

The increase of so-called ‘poverty-porn’ on TV has further embedded benefits stigma into mainstream discussions.

A Turn2us study has revealed that despite benefit fraud accounting for 1% of claims, one in every five people believe a majority of benefit claims are false.

This is compounded by 36% of the public feeling that benefit claimants don’t deserve help, and a further 24% of the public feeling that benefit claimants need help because they are lazy.

A result of this widespread belief means that 85% of benefits claimants feel an institutional stigma and 50% feel a social stigma.

The reality of living on benefits is a topic that needs to be handled with compassion and care.

A 28 year old from Northamptonshire shared his experience on Reddit: “I lost my job due to ill health in December. I won’t get into details of salary but I was comfortable enough that I was looking to move in with my girlfriend around now had I been able to stay at work.

Woman sorting her finances

“As such, I have expenses reasonable enough for someone who was in a slightly above entry level admin job. A contract with the gym, £30 a month, a phone contract plus insurance, £46 a month, a car – essential as I live in rural Northamptonshire with no public transport links – which I own outright, but the insurance is £35 a month, my Labour party membership, £5 a month, my credit card bill – which I was slowly paying off after getting into difficulty post-university – £38 a month.

“My monthly expenditure is £157. My monthly benefits payments are £318. This leaves me with £160 for petrol to attend interviews, doctor’s appointments, pay for parking and other expenses.

“I spend almost all of my time looking for work, and yet I’m consistently called lazy by the DWP staff who I have to see fortnightly.

“When I get calls from agencies and employers the change in tone, when I explain my work situation, is palpable.

“Living on benefits is a miserable existence, and yet it is constantly demonised. People have even asked my girlfriend why she’s with me, as if she should be ashamed. It’s making me feel awful.”

Source: Turn2us

Family Fund secures funding for next three years

Department for Education commits £81.9 million for charity’s work across the UK

The Department for Education has confirmed that it will maintain its £27.3 million annual funding for Family Fund for three years from 2017-18. The commitment is for £81.9 million in total.

Family Fund is the UK’s largest charity providing grants for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people.

Family Fund

Last year, it provided 89,423 grants or services worth over £36 million to families across the UK. The charity aims to give all families raising disabled and seriously ill children and young people the same opportunities as others by providing grants for essential items, such as washing machines, sensory toys, family breaks, bedding, clothing and computers.

Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families’ comments

Minister of State for Vulnerable Children and Families Edward Timpson MP met recently with staff and families who had received support from Family Fund to find out more about what a difference the grants had made.

He said “No child, regardless of the obstacles they face, should miss out on vital life experiences. I’m delighted to confirm that we will be giving Family Fund £81.9 million over the next three years, in recognition of the life-changing support it gives to families.

“This important work was brought to life thanks to the heartfelt stories of the parents and young people who took part in our meeting. I hope this announcement gives Family Fund the confidence to continue their work to help thousands of families across the country.”

Family Fund Chief Executive’s comments

Cheryl Ward, Chief Executive of Family Fund, said “This significant commitment from the Department for Education will make an incredible difference to the families we support and we are thrilled.

“Our grants provide practical and essential support and help improve the quality of life and ease some of the additional daily pressures faced by many families.

“The security of three years’ funding allows Family Fund to plan ahead to deliver our grants and services with confidence and, most importantly, will mean a reliable source of support for families raising disabled or seriously ill children and young people across England. We will work hard to ensure this funding supports as many families as possible.”

The funding will cover 2017-18 to 2019-20 inclusive.

More information on Family Fund