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“They say jump, we say how high?” conditionality, sanctioning and incentivising disabled people into the UK labour market

Mehta, J and Taggart, D and Clifford, E and Speed, E (2021) '“They say jump, we say how high?” conditionality, sanctioning and incentivising disabled people into the UK labour market.' Disability and Society, 36 (5). 681 - 701. ISSN 0968-7599

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This paper focuses on the experiences of disabled people in the UK assigned to the Employment and Support Allowance Work Related Activity Group. Specifically, it considers the impact of processes of conditionality and sanctions on this group. The research was designed, conducted and analysed collaboratively between a disabled people’s user-led organisation (DPULO) and an academic team. The research documents the negative impact that processes of conditionality and sanctions had upon participants. The results highlighted 3 main themes: a lack of equality between disabled claimants and other claimants; significant impact of issues of compliance within a regime that imposes conditions and sanctions; and alternative ways of experiencing and responding to this policy regime. Suggestions are made as to how to involve disabled people in decision-making at policy level to ensure that such conditionality and sanctioning are not used when there is clear evidence that highlights the damaging and detrimental effects of these processes.Points of interest This research looks at how changes to welfare support in the UK have had a negative impact upon the health and wellbeing of disabled people. The research found that processes of sanctions on welfare payments were ineffective in getting disabled people to engage in work-related activity. Instead they create a range of punishing conditions that are often negative to health. The impact of sanctions was life threatening for some participants. The underlying fear instilled by the threat of sanctions meant many participants described living in a state of constant anxiety. This did not enable people to engage in work related activity. Participants described camaraderie in relationships of mutual support to be helpful in counteracting the negative impacts of sanctions. These findings are of particular relevance for the expansion of business models of welfare across a number of international policy settings. This research recommends more active engagement between welfare system researchers, government and Disabled People User Led Organisations (DPULOs) to develop alternative ways of engaging Disabled people in work related activity.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Health > Health and Social Care, School of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 21 May 2020 13:42
Last Modified: 22 Jun 2021 18:15

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