1 in 4 too ashamed to admit they receive benefits

One in four people are too ashamed to admit that they are in receipt of benefits, worried that people will think they are scroungers, according to a new survey.

One in four people are too ashamed to admit that they are in receipt of benefits, worried that people will think they are scroungers, according to a new survey.

More than a quarter (27 percent) of those on benefits said they had hidden it because of what people would think. This rose to half (47 percent) among 16-24 year olds. More than half (51 percent) of all those who had never been supported by benefits said they would feel embarrassed to make a claim.

Overall, however, people had a positive view of the benefits system, with 81 per cent saying it was an important safety net to support people when they need help. Two-thirds (64 per cent) agreed that benefits paid to those in need were good for wider society.

The online research, which questioned 1,955 adults, was conducted in September and was released to coincide a campaign by charities aimed at countering negative views of people who claim benefits.

Chief executive of The Children’s Society Matthew Reed said it was “reassuring to see that the public support this view”.

“At a time when families up and down the country are feeling the squeeze, it is important – now more than ever – that society supports those in need. The overwhelming majority of people who get benefits really need them; whether they are working, looking for work or unable to work.”

But chief executive of Mind Paul Farmer said lots of individuals with mental health problems faced “stigma and discrimination”.

“These new statistics suggest those who claim benefits experience double the stigma,” he added.


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3 Responses to “1 in 4 too ashamed to admit they receive benefits”

  1. David Davies

    I am not ashamed to admit that I am on benefits, or rely on food parcels. I am aghast that, after 37 years’ full contributions, I am only entitled to 27.97/week.

  2. treborc1

    I think people who have worked have this feeling of guilt when they go onto benefits I know I did after my accident and even now I will not own up to being on benefits mind you that’s harder to do in a wheelchair. Also you have to be so dam careful not to upset people I’ve been reported three times by people and have been investigated twice, now whom ever it is who reports me and I have my ideas, the DWP just ignore it . But this is down to labour’s report a fraud or report a benefits cheat,

    But yes the stigma of being on benefits has been around a lot longer then Byrne Freud and Blair or Frankie the Hit Man Field. Byrne has gone and I bet Labour new choice is no better.

  3. Peter Wild

    Interesting that they did not specify what benefits are, but there is an implicit definition of benefits is JSA /ESA and IS. If the scaremongers like to claim that the benefits bill is exploding. Then surely “benefits people claim” should cover all of the DWPs remit. So what are the “shame ratios” for Carers Allowance, Child Benefit, Tax credits, Pensions. I can’t say that I am ashamed that my parents claimed Child Benefit, or that they and their parents before them claimed their pension. I am proud of people who claim Carers Allowance. Both because of the inherent act of caring is worthy, and because they save us a fortune. I am deeply ashamed at the way JSA and ESA claimants are stigmatised based on “facts” derived from watching Shameless and Jeremy Kyle.

    In wider terms I benefit from other tax-funded benefits (eg police, health, fire). But how skewed the discussion has become when benefits simply appears to come down to JSA, ESA, and income support.

    Personally I have felt shame at the regime I have had to jump through to get put into the ESA-WRAG. I don’t feel shame at claiming. I under-claimed by about 52 weeks because I was so scared of my own government and the WCA regime.

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