Older people's participation in welfare and disability benefit programmes - PhD thesis-
This thesis studies older people's participation in income support and disability related cash programmes in Britain. A first chapter exploits the 2001 Minimum Income Guarantee (MIG) reform - changing the structure and level of income support - to evaluate the take-up response to increased entitlement level. The following chapter exploits a later reform to the same program - its replacement with Pension Credit (PC) in 2003 - to investigate how older people claiming behaviour responds to increased financial incentives and also to policies intended to reduce the non monetary costs of claiming. In both cases the behavioural response is identified using parametric and non parametric analysis of repeated cross sections of Family Resources Survey data. Results consistently show a positive and significant behavioural response to increased entitlement level. No response is instead found to policies aimed at lowering barriers to claiming, when unaccompanied by concurrent raised monetary rewards.A final chapter studies participation in disability benefits in terms of targeting timing of receipt and of impact on later financial wellbeing. Using seventeen waves of British Household Panel Survey data, it analyses the extent to which receipt is responsive to changes in disability status and the extent of delays in receipt after the onset of disability. It also compares later outcomes of recipients and non recipients, accounting for selection into the program. Results indicate that disability benefit receipt is highly responsive to previous changes in disability status, and that the program enhances persistently recipients' financial wellbeing. However, considerable delays in receipt are found. Besides, the evidence of personal characteristics unrelated to eligibility influencing the benefit assignment mechanism raises horizontal equity concerns.