Welfare access, assets and debts of LGBT+ people in the UK

Funded by The Nuffield Foundation.

Collaboration with Sheffield Hallam University, University of Birmingham and University of Nottingham.

The project aims to understand the experiences of LGBT+ people when they access welfare benefits and engage with the welfare state in the UK. Our analysis will produce the world’s first, mixed-methods, in-depth study into LGBT+ people and welfare outcomes in an advanced economy. It will provide important insights to improve the effectiveness of welfare support for minoritized groups hitherto neglected within mainstream social policy. Welfare provision in the UK and beyond has been critiqued for its sexist, racist and ableist assumptions. However, issues of sexuality and gender non-conformity have yet to penetrate within this wider critical analysis to the same extent - despite growing evidence that some LGBT+ groups have lower incomes over their life course, higher rates of homelessness, and important mental health issues. Moreover, LGBT+ groups often lack recourse to traditional welfare ‘buffers’ such as family wealth or housing assets - often the consequence of non-traditional life-course trajectories and, in many cases, dislocation associated with coming-out. The arrangements of welfare state provision in the UK, therefore, may be ill-suited to LGBT+ groups. This project will investigate how LGBT+ groups have fared through recent periods of welfare austerity and during the Covid-19 pandemic. It will conduct innovative secondary analysis using UK datasets to understand how LGBT+ people are situated in terms of state welfare support and personal circumstances. We will also conduct a programme of qualitative research with LGBT+ people, with a particular interest in barriers they may have faced in accessing state welfare and managing their circumstances.

Total award value £233,450.00

People (1)


Dr Peter Matthews
Dr Peter Matthews

Senior Lecturer, Sociology, Social Policy & Criminology