A Grounded Theory Study of Disability Benefit Changes

Jessica Saffer carried out doctoral research into the psychological impact of Government changes to the disability benefit system - welfare reform.

Author: Jessica Saffer

The harm caused to disabled people by welfare reform

Dr Jessica Saffer, in conjunction with the University of Hertfordshire and the Centre for Welfare Reform, has conducted research into the impact of changes to disability benefits on individuals’ wellbeing and identity. She argues that the Government’s recent decision to review all £1.6m claims to the PIP system is too little, too late; the damage has already been done and we need to do more to support disabled people to afford a basic standard of living and to be full citizens within our society.

Dr Saffer can use her research findings to make the following points:

The system needs to be changed to prevent its detrimental impact in the following ways:

Additionally, many of the participants in this research felt that the recent changes in benefits, as well as the stigma surrounding disabled benefit claimants, are politically and ideologically driven, with the aim of cutting back significantly on welfare spending. Dr Saffer argues that politicians and journalists should be challenged about playing politics with the lives of people with disabilities. Her research suggests that space should be created for personal accounts to be placed in the public domain, so that counter-narratives become available to a wider audience and the day-to-day human suffering of people living with disabilities, as caused by the cuts to benefits and the inaccessible and inhumane benefits application processes, become more widely known.

Jessica is happy to discuss her work further and invites any collaborations or questions, please contact her by Email

Read and download the research report (pdf) in your browser, link below.

The publisher is University of Hertfordshire.

A Grounded Theory Study of Disability Benefit Changes © Jessica Saffer 2017.

All Rights Reserved. No part of this paper may be reproduced in any form without permission from the publisher except for the quotation of brief passages in reviews.


Paper | 14.02.18

disability, health & healthcare, mental health, social care, social justice, England, Paper

Jessica Saffer


Clinical Psychologist and member of Psychologists for Social Change

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