Social Security Experience Panels: benefit take-up – visual summary

Visual summary of findings from research with Social Security Experience Panels members about their experiences of accessing the benefit system.

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Experiences of Stigma

We asked participants where they had experienced social pressure and stigma about the benefits system. Participants talked about a number of different ways in they had experienced stigma. These included:

  • Television programmes
  • Newspapers
  • Social media
  • Government and politicians
  • Neighbours, friends and family

It was felt that television programmes and newspapers told negative stories about people on benefits. Participants felt that certain media focussed on people who were trying to overuse or decieve the benefits system.

“When they make these programmes around benefit fraud, it gives the perception that everyone is on benefits is fraudulent. When in actual fact is it only a small minority of people.”

Other participants said that some politicians increased negative attitudes towards the benefits system. Several talked about the damage of political campaigns that focussed on the welfare state.

“There are politicians out there who are demonising disabled people.”

Others spoke about discrimination towards disabled people in communities. Some talked about wrongful fraud accusations in local neighbourhoods. Others discussed how strangers in their local area could say unpleasant things to them on the street.

“I was walking along the road and a couple of guys followed me and shouted ‘scrounger’. You get people screaming all kinds of things at you. I’ve had people say ‘people like you should be dead’, amongst other things.”



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