Benefit recipients want to find work

(First Edition)

A SURVEY of people on Invalidity Benefit, published by the Department of Social Security yesterday, appears to undermine suggestions by ministers that recipients are shirkers or scroungers on the state who do not want to work.

The survey found that three-quarters of people under 50, who spent a year on Invalidity Benefit, still considered themselves to be part of the labour market and wanted to work.

The research found the majority of new recipients were men. Two in five people on the benefit were under 50 and very few were over retirement age. Half had no qualifications and were most likely to have last worked in manual jobs.

Recipients divided into two groups - those planning to return to work and those who were either retired or did not expect to work again. Those in the labour market were much younger, most likely to be women, less severely disabled and in a better state of health.

Older and unqualified people were less likely to return to work. Those with higher educational qualification were nearly four times as likely as the unqualified to be in work a year after starting IVB.

Invalidity Benefit: a Longitudinal Survey of New Recipients; HMSO; pounds 19.95.