The health effects of welfare rights advice and welfare benefits: a critical review


This paper reports a further review of evidence from 2006 to 2010. The evidence continue strongly to show financial benefits, less strongly, mental health benefits, and very weakly, physical benefits. For those commissioning health care there is sufficient evidence to justify consideration of the intervention for those likely to be under-claiming or not claiming benefits. 

Those undertaking research into or evaluation of any initiatives, should attend carefully to:

  1. The intervention hypothesized as having an effect; for example, is it advice, increased finance or new employment?
  2. The mechanism hypothesized through which the health effect occurs; for example, is it more money to spend or a better ability to cope with finance?
  3. The outcome; it is unlikely that physical health will improve in the short to medium term; researchers should therefore look to markers of improvement instead.

Researchers can probably best understand the mechanism of change through use of a model of health that shows how social factors, such as class, and political factors, such as type of welfare system, affect health.

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