Sickness benefits, suspicion, and anxiety

Inequalities

In a guest post, Kayleigh Garthwaite talks about her recent research with sickness benefit claimants.  Prompted by a hostile email from a GP after speaking about her research recently on national radio, Kayleigh reflects on the real barriers that sickness benefit claimants face, and the challenges of living in a climate of institutionalised suspicion.

What does it mean for sickness benefit claimants to live in a climate of suspicion?

For the past three years, I have been studying the lives of long-term sickness benefits recipients in North East England as part of my PhD research. Recently, I was asked to appear on BBC Radio 4’s ‘Thinking Allowed’ to discuss welfare reform, following a symposium organised by Ben Baumberg and Ruth Patrick in Leeds.

On the programme, I spoke about how a deep-seated fear of welfare reform pervaded the daily lives of people in the study. Some people were afraid of…

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