ReportExploratory Qualitative Research on the 'Single Working Age Benefit' Sainsbury, R. and Weston, K. 2010 Department for Work and Pensions Research Report, No. 659
AbstractThere has been a lot of discussion at policy level about the idea of a single working age benefit. This benefit would merge Job Seekers Allowance, Income Support, Employment and Support Allowance and Incapacity Benefit and aim to cut down on the complexity of the system that is often seen as a barrier to moving people from benefits to work.
Up to this point consideration of the single working age benefit idea had missed the perspectives of important key players directly affected by complexity - benefit recipients and front-line staff who delivered benefits and employment services. This study used qualitative research methods to take the first step in filling this gap in our knowledge.
One consistent finding from this study is that the dominant feeling among the claimants and advisers taking part was that the difficulties they faced with claiming benefits, the problems caused when circumstances change, and the uncertainties that were created by the transition to work, all need addressing. A simplified benefit system was generally seen as having the potential for, possibly large, improvement. The idea of a single working age benefit, as an example of radical simplification, attracted interest and support. The dysfunctions of benefit complexity noted by the National Audit Office and Public Accounts Communication are as evident in 2010 as they were four or five years ago. The imperative for change is arguably now even greater.