Salway, Sarah, Platt, Lucinda, Harriss, Kaveri and Chowbey, Punita (2007) Long-term health conditions and Disability Living Allowance: exploring ethnic differences and similarities in access. Sociology of Health and Illness, 29 (6). pp. 907-930. ISSN 0141-9889
Long-term health conditions affect a substantial proportion of working-age adults, often reducing their employment chances and their incomes. As a result, welfare benefits including those intended to off-set additional expenditure (primarily Disability Living Allowance [DLA]) can make an essential contribution towards maintaining living standards. Given the differences in rates of long-term health conditions for different ethnic groups, issues of access to relevant benefits may be particularly salient for certain communities. We lack, however, detailed examination of the factors that influence take-up of DLA across ethnic groups. In this paper, secondary analysis of Labour Force Survey data is combined with detailed new qualitative work, to examine patterns of receipt and issues of access to DLA across four ethnic groups. DLA receipt among individuals reporting long-term health conditions is low; but Bangladeshi, Pakistani and Black African individuals have significantly lower levels of receipt than White British respondents with comparable health and socioeconomic characteristics. Common factors that appeared to discourage DLA claims across the ethnic groups considered included: a desire to conceal impairment and a reluctance to assume a ‘disabled’ identity; limited benefit knowledge or specialist support; perceptions that the benefits system is complex and stressful; and concerns about the legitimacy of claiming. But our findings also suggest differences between the groups. For example, ‘being’ Ghanaian appeared to place particular constraints upon the assumption of a disabled identity. Ethnic identity also implied processes of inclusion and exclusion in social networks resulting in differential access to information and ‘know-how’ in relation to the benefits system. Policy clearly has a role in legitimising claiming and improving accurate information flows and thereby improving take-up of benefit among those in great need.
Actions (login required)
|Record administration - authorised staff only|