The Who Benefits? campaign now includes a broad coalition of charities, professional networks and community groups such as RNIB, The National Autistic Society, Oxfam, the Stroke Association, Carers UK, Working Families and the Chartered Institute of Housing.
Together, these groups represent millions of people who have relied on support from benefits because of ill health, caring for a loved one, losing their job or just struggling with low wages and the high cost of living.
The campaign was brought together by charities The Children’s Society, Crisis, Gingerbread, Macmillan Cancer Support and Mind. It was launched to bring the voices of the millions of people who have been supported by benefits at some point in their lives to a debate often dominated by extreme examples and stereotypes.
The campaign is calling on politicians, the public and the media to do more to understand the lives of people supported by benefits and focus on real reasons that people are struggling such as low wages, a rising cost of living and the housing crisis.
“All of us will care for or need care from loved ones at some point in our lives. Following a diagnosis of dementia, treatment for cancer or the birth of a disabled child – every family may need support from the benefits system, as they cope with the financial impact of having to cut working hours or give up work to care and the extra costs of ill-health and disability. The benefits system isn’t there for a small part of society – it is vital for all of us.”
“Locality is delighted to be the 100th member of the Who Benefits? campaign. A decent benefits system is a hallmark of a decent society and we believe it is really important that the voices of those living on benefits are heard – and that people understand the real help that benefits provide to individuals, families and communities.”
“Benefits are a lifeline and not a luxury for thousands of disabled people and their families across the UK. We frequently hear from people with autism who are worried about what the future might hold if they didn’t have the support of benefits.
“Without benefits many people with autism and those who care for them would be left isolated and adrift from society. Campaigns like this are vital in raising awareness of the pressures that people living with disability are currently under and we hope that by working together we can draw attention to the human faces behind the benefits debate.”
“We support the Who Benefits? campaign. We know from callers to our helpline that there are times when working parents and carers need some support from benefits. It is this support, often short term, which enables them to balance work and caring responsibilities and still make work pay.”
The campaign is asking people to share their stories through whobenefits.org.uk. Hundreds of people who have been supported by benefits have already added their voice through the website and through social media with the hashtag #WeAllBenefit.
Notes to editor:
 The Who Benefits? Campaign launched in October this year with polling from YouGov showing that eighty-one percent agree that ‘benefits are an important safety net to support people when they need help’, while 64 percent agree that ‘we all benefit as a society when support from benefits is available for those that need it’. Details of the launch can be found here: http://www.childrenssociety.org.uk/news-views/press-release/campaign-launches-give-voice-people-supported-benefits