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Long-term health conditions and Disability Living Allowance: exploring ethnic differences and similarities in access

Salway, Sarah, Platt, Lucinda ORCID: 0000-0002-8251-6400, 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

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Identification Number: 10.1111/j.1467-9566.2007.01044.x


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.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2007 John Wiley & Sons
Divisions: Social Policy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
JEL classification: I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I1 - Health > I18 - Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health
I - Health, Education, and Welfare > I3 - Welfare and Poverty > I38 - Government Policy; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
J - Labor and Demographic Economics > J1 - Demographic Economics > J14 - Economics of the Elderly; Economics of the Handicapped
Z - Other Special Topics > Z1 - Cultural Economics; Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2014 15:05
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 00:41

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