I’ve been a bit lost in book writing lately but I have the chance to do something a little different at a forthcoming conference. I will be going to the Socio-Legal Studies Association conference in Newcastle in April.
Incapacity and unemployment
In one presentation I will talk about the link between incapacity benefits and unemployment. It is well established that claims for incapacity benefits go up in times of high unemployment and people are more likely to claim incapacity benefits in areas where there are fewer jobs. It is fairly easy to understand why this is: people with health issues or impairments find it more difficult to find jobs at the best of times and struggle when there are fewer jobs to go around. But legal decision makers have always argued that it is possible to distinguish between ‘unemployment’ and ‘incapacity for work’. So people who have health issues and can’t find jobs are often described as unemployed rather than unable to work. This has important consequences for their benefits entitlement, how much they may be entitled to and whether they have to look for work in order to qualify. My paper will show how these legal ideas developed across the twentieth century.
Owls popping up all over the place
My second paper will be a little different. Here I will be taking part in the ‘Pop-up Museum of Legal Objects’. I will use this innovative session to talk about a little booklet from 1948 which advertised the new post-war National Insurance scheme. I’ve written about it on the blog before – see here. When I was in the National Archives a few weeks ago, I found out a bit more about this leaflet so I have more to say. The pop-up museum asks me to make a model of my object so I have a bit of work to do. I’ve been looking in charity shops and getting out the glue…. If this gets too interesting, I might be taking the Blue Peter skills to the other session too.