Social variations in uptake of disability benefits: A census-based record linkage study

Dermot O'Reilly, Michael Rosato*, David Wright, Ana Corina Miller, Foteini Tseliou, Aideen Maguire

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background;
Significant variation in disability-related social security benefits receipt might highlight sub-populations and groups with unmet needs and also have implications for areal indicators of disadvantage that are largely derived from uptake of benefits. In this paper we examine Disability Living Allowance (DLA), a non means-tested contribution towards disability-related living costs for disabled people aged less than sixty-five.

Methodology:
Three census-based measures of self-reported health (number of chronic physical disabilities; activity limitation (a little; a lot); and chronic poor mental health) were linked to contemporaneous DLA records. The 2011 Census returns provided individual demographic, socio-economic, social and area-level characteristics. DLA uptake was modelled using logistic regression, stratified into 0–15 and 16–64 year old age groups.

Results:
Overall, 118329 (8.4%) of this population received DLA. Poor health outcomes were the main determinants for uptake, which was higher amongst females, those non-married and those of lower socio-economic status: for example those with no qualifications compared against third level education (ORad = 1.80: 95%CI = 1.75–1.85); and those social renting compared against those in more expensive owner occupation (ORadj = 1.92: 1.83–2.02). Uptake was lower amongst Protestants than Catholics (ORadj = 0.75: 0.74–0.77) and amongst immigrants (ORadj = 0.36: 0.34–0.39) and slightly lower in rural communities.

Conclusions:
Poor health is the predominant determinant of disability benefits uptake but other social and socioeconomic factors have influence. These findings may assist in the reshaping of outreach programmes leading to better targeting of benefits, and therefore a more indirect influence on the derivation of area deprivation measures in the United Kingdom.
Original languageEnglish
Article number113821
JournalSocial Science & Medicine
Volume276
Early online date06 Mar 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2021

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