Conditional Rights, Benefit Reform, and Drug Users: Reducing Dependency?

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United Kingdom government policy to increase social security claimants' entry to the labour market through conditions attached to unemployed, sickness and incapacity benefits now includes additional measures to activate particular groups such as lone parents and drug users. The latter are a prime target because of their high level of dependency on benefits and because social security rules are seen as having the potential to modify the behaviour of individuals with a lifestyle regarded as being at odds with the moral obligations of citizenship and incompatible with the government's realization of its wider economic and social goals. There are strict procedures for the identification of drug-user claimants, enabling additional conditions to be attached to their benefit rights. This article discusses the general trend in benefit reform towards increased conditionality and evaluates the reforms affecting drug users, considering human rights and other implications. It concludes by reflecting on the status of conditional rights to social security as social rights. © 2010 The Author. Journal Compilation © 2010 Cardiff University Law School.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)233-263
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Law and Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


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