What does day-to-day life involve for those who receive out-of-work benefits? Is the political focus on moving people from `welfare' and into work the right one? And do mainstream politicians' and the media's analyses of the `problem' of welfare accurately reflect what life on benefits is really like? Ruth Patrick interviewed single parents, disabled people and young jobseekers on benefits over five years to find out how they experience the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, and whether the welfare state still offers meaningful protection and security in times of need. This important book offers a timely contribution to ongoing debates about the efficacy and ethics of welfare reform.