Recently graduated – and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance, housing benefit or any other form of welfare ‘hand-out’? Do you consider yourself a striver – or a skiver?

As the goverment’s reforms the welfare system start to take effect this week, everyone is talking about benefits. Nearly 300,000 people have signed a petition urging the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith to try living on £53 a week, after he told listeners of BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that he could live on benefits, “if I had to”. Then the Daily Mail headlined their front page story about convicted child killer Mick Philpott “Vile Product of Welfare UK,” apparently linking his actions to the fact that he had claimed a substantial sum in benefits over the years.

But, as an article by the Evening Standard columnist Richard Godwin points out, there are a lot of myths knocking about when it comes to benefits claimants. Many people assume the unemployed are a major burden for taxpayers. But in reality a far larger proportion of the welfare budget is spent on in-work benefits for low-paid workers – people who have jobs but whose wages are not enough to live on, forcing them to need welfare support to make ends meet.

So, what is the truth when it comes to graduates on benefits? If you’re claiming welfare “hand-outs”, what are your circumstances – and how do you feel about receiving benefits? Is it true that welfare payments are an incentive not to work – or are you desperately seeking a job? How will the government’s reforms affect you – and what do you think about the way the media portrays people receiving benefits? We’d love to hear from you, so please comment below…

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