Skip to main content

Disabled but not deserving? The perceived deservingness of disability welfare benefit claimants

Baumberg Geiger, Ben (2021) Disabled but not deserving? The perceived deservingness of disability welfare benefit claimants. Journal of European Social Policy, . ISSN 0958-9287. (doi:10.1177/0958928721996652) (KAR id:82853)

PDF Publisher pdf
Language: English


Download (424kB) Preview
[thumbnail of 0958928721996652.pdf]
Preview
This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology.
Request an accessible format
PDF Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of 0. JESP accepted manuscript.pdf]
XML Word Processing Document (DOCX) Author's Accepted Manuscript
Language: English

Restricted to Repository staff only
Contact us about this Publication
[thumbnail of 0. JESP accepted manuscript.docx]
Official URL
https://doi.org/10.1177/0958928721996652

Abstract

While disability benefits make up the largest group of claimants in high-income countries, we know surprisingly little about which disabled people are seen as ‘deserving’ benefits, nor whether different people in different countries judge deservingness-related characteristics similarly. This is surprising given they are increasingly the focus of retrenchment, which often affirms the deservingness of ‘truly deserving’ disabled people while focusing cuts and demands on those ‘less deserving’. This paper addresses this gap using two vignette-based factorial survey experiments: (i) the nine-country ‘Stigma in Global Context-Mental Health Study’ (SGC-MHS); (ii) a new YouGov survey in Norway/the UK, together with UK replication. I find a hierarchy of symptoms/impairments, from wheelchair use (perceived as most deserving), to schizophrenia and back pain, fibromyalgia, depression, and finally asthma (least deserving). Direct manipulations of deservingness-related characteristics also influence judgements, including membership of ethnic/racial ingroups and particularly blameworthiness and medical legitimation. In contrast, the effects of work ability, age and work history are relatively weak, particularly when compared to the effects on unemployed claimants. Finally, for non-disabled unemployed claimants, I confirm previous findings that right-wingers respond more strongly to deservingness-related characteristics, but Norwegians and Britons respond similarly. For disabled claimants, however, the existing picture is challenged, with e.g. Britons responding more strongly to these characteristics than Norwegians. I conclude by drawing together the implications for policy, particularly the politics of disability benefits, the role of medical legitimation, and the legitimacy challenges of the increasing role of mental health in disability benefit recipiency.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0958928721996652
Uncontrolled keywords: disability benefits, unemployment benefits, deservingness, public attitudes, ideology, cross-national research
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Divisions: Divisions > Division for the Study of Law, Society and Social Justice > School of Social Policy, Sociology and Social Research
Depositing User: Benjamin Geiger
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2020 11:24 UTC
Last Modified: 24 Mar 2021 13:19 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/82853 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Baumberg Geiger, Ben: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0341-3532
  • Depositors only (login required):