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Further disadvantage: the effect of stigma in discouraging use of concession cards

By David Baker


  Concession cards provide access to a range of welfare benefits additional to income support payments. While concession cards constitute an important means of accessing support, their efficacy is dependent upon cardholders using their cards. There are many questions relating to the determinants of card use and the realised value of these benefits. For example, are decisions about when and how to use cards influenced by people’s experiences of stigma, their perceptions of the benefits received or their awareness of the concessions available? The purpose of this paper is to take a closer look at the role of stigma in discouraging card use and the value of benefits people may be forgoing. In order to do this, an online survey was conducted that asked concession cardholders about rates of card use and reasons for use or non-use, their awareness of available concession benefits and the estimated value of the benefits received. This paper confirms previous research findings that a lack of awareness is an important factor influencing people’s access to benefits to which they are entitled. However, irrespective of awareness levels, there are those who consciously choose not to use their cards because of the stigma they feel society directs at concession card holders. The paper also finds that cardholders are realising only half of the potential savings available to them

Topics: Public health, Social isolation, Poor children, Education--Government policy, Public welfare, People with disabilities, Medical policy, Power resources, Transportation, Disadvantage
Publisher: Australian Social Policy Journal
Year: 2011
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