Amy is a young woman who has worked as a nursery assistant, doing different days at two jobs and working towards a qualification in childcare. She says, “I know society doesn’t accept me. To be honest, I don’t accept myself. I claim Employment and Support Allowance and Disability Living Allowance. I wish I didn’t need it, but the truth is, without this money, I could not survive. In my everyday life, I am made to feel an outcast, unwanted and alone. The more I feel hated by society, the more I hate myself. I don’t think society knows this, the way they make us benefits claimants feel behind closed doors. Maybe we are guilty of not talking about it enough, but maybe society is also guilty of not being ready to listen.”

Source: Mary O’Hara (2014) Austerity Bites, Policy Press, 133