UPDATED: Benefits claimants offered £40 for taking part in council’s £15,000 welfare survey

View of Bucks County Council tower
View of Bucks County Council tower

Benefits claimants can earn £40 for telling Bucks County Council and its partners how welfare changes such as the bedroom tax are affecting them in a project set to cost £15,800.

People who are interested in giving their views can invite a researcher to their home for half a day – morning or afternoon – to have a private, in-depth conversation about their current lifestyle and how the benefit changes might affect them.

Each interviewee will be offered £40 as a thank you for their time.

Another option is taking part in a two-hour meeting with other claimants to discuss the changes in a group setting, and each person will be given £10 plus travel expenses as a thank you for taking part.

A total of £500 has been set aside to pay for these incentives, but this figure does not include the cost of the travel expenses.

The research, which takes place this month, will help the council and its partners ‘develop ways to better respond to the needs and aspirations of the county’s residents’.

A spokesman from Bucks County Council said: “Research will help us to pre-empt the needs of residents in Buckinghamshire ahead of these changes, so partners across Buckinghamshire can help residents adapt to the changes, such as the increased move to online services.”

The Welfare Reform Act 2012 is making sweeping changes to the benefits system, which began last year and will be ongoing until 2017 – and these will affect between 35,000 to 40,000 people across the county.

Bucks County Council has called in research company Innovation Unit to conduct interviews and focus groups.

The project is led by Bucks County Council and funded by more than 25 ‘partner organisations’.

Taking part in the research will not affect benefits or support people personally receive. People who want to get involved can call or text Rebecca on 07763785977.