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Our evidence to parliament published

The Commons Work and Pensions Committee has published written evidence from WASD as part of its ongoing inquiry into the DWP’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

Our research found:

  • Many people were delaying making a new claim. Some cited misunderstandings about how the benefits system worked, others viewed claiming as a last resort, and some put off claiming due to stigma.

  • Three quarters of new benefit claimants reported that their household income had fallen since the coronavirus outbreak, with more than half losing over 25 per cent.

  • A large proportion of claimants reported falling behind on housing costs, and on bills and regular debt payments. Significant numbers reported not eating when hungry because they could not afford food, and even more not being able to afford fresh fruit and vegetables every day.

Our project comprises a nationally representative survey of benefit claimants; in-depth interviews with claimants; and local area case studies of support organisations. As such the project is uniquely placed to provide insights into how the social security benefits system is functioning during the pandemic.

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