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Disability Benefits: A Substitute for Income Support for Single Mothers with No Qualifications in the UK


  • Zeenat Soobedar

    () (Queen Mary, University of London)


This paper examines the impact of the age-eligibility rule establishing automatic withdrawal of Income Support for single mothers whose youngest child turns 16 on the disability benefits welfare participation decision of single mothers with no qualifications in the UK. Using the age discontinuity in Income Support program assignment, the study reveals that these single mothers are 4.2 percentage points more likely to claim health benefits as their youngest child turns 16, consistent with a theoretical model of benefits choice. More than a quarter of single mothers who were initially on Income Support apply for sickness and disability benefits, out of which 70% claim non-contributory health benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Zeenat Soobedar, 2009. "Disability Benefits: A Substitute for Income Support for Single Mothers with No Qualifications in the UK," Working Papers 657, Queen Mary University of London, School of Economics and Finance.
  • Handle: RePEc:qmw:qmwecw:wp657

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    Single mothers; Disability benefits; Regression discontinuity;

    JEL classification:

    • J12 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Marriage; Marital Dissolution; Family Structure
    • I38 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Welfare, Well-Being, and Poverty - - - Government Programs; Provision and Effects of Welfare Programs
    • C21 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Cross-Sectional Models; Spatial Models; Treatment Effect Models

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