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

Dermot O'Reilly, Michael Rosato, David M Wright, Ana Corina Millar, Foteini Tseliou, Aideen Maguire

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    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. Method: ology: 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 (OR ad = 1.80: 95%CI = 1.75–1.85); and those social renting compared against those in more expensive owner occupation (OR adj = 1.92: 1.83–2.02). Uptake was lower amongst Protestants than Catholics (OR adj = 0.75: 0.74–0.77) and amongst immigrants (OR adj = 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
    Pages (from-to)1-6
    Number of pages6
    JournalSocial science & medicine (1982)
    Early online date6 Mar 2021
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 31 May 2021

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    © 2021 Elsevier Ltd


    • Disability benefits
    • Migrants
    • Variation


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