Why we need tailored support for disabled claimants

Our Director of Policy Gemma Hope responds to the government’s Way to Work campaign.

In response to the government’s Way to Work campaign and associated changes to out-of-work benefits our Director of Policy Gemma Hope said:

“Today’s measures prove that sadly the UK has still not moved past viewing benefit claimants through a punitive lens. Policymakers should not still be equating being out of work with being undeserving of help, short- or long-term. This is especially true in an era marked by rapidly rising costs of living and the lingering health impacts of COVID-19. Instead, the government should be looking at tailored support, especially for disabled claimants, such as recruiting more specialist disability advisors. 

“We have already seen the results of overusing sanctions. Put simply, this sort of harsh regime does not support people into work. Sanctions cause extreme stress and push claimants into hardship, and their misuse is costly due to the erroneous decisions and pressures on other services that result. Rarely are such processes designed with the needs of disabled claimants in mind, deepening existing inequalities. 

“These payments are an essential source of financial support. They should be treated as such, delivered with care and accompanied by tailored employment advice.”