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On Benefits

All Episodes 2016 - 2017

  • 2019-01-24T00:00:00+00:00s at 2019-01-24T00:00:00+00:00 on Channel 5 (UK)
  • 1 mins
  • 1 hour, 5 mins
  • United Kingdom
  • Reality
Documentary looking at people and families whose sole source of income is benefits and state welfare

65 episodes

1x01 26 Kids and Claiming

  • Series Premiere

    2016-03-17T00:00:00+00:00 — 1 min

Documentary following large families whose sole source of income is benefits, including devoted mother Paula and her seven children. Paula first became pregnant at the age of 14 and is trying to come to terms with her eldest daughter, who is expecting her second child, moving home. Plus, unemployed Mohammed has 11 children and his life is in a constant state of chaos, but is pinning his hopes on finding work abroad, while Lee and his family are living in emergency accommodation and are facing eviction.

1x02 On the Yorkshire Dole

  • 2016-03-24T00:00:00+00:00 — 1 min

A look at the lives of people existing on state welfare in Yorkshire. Steve is signed off sick and thinks his tattooed hands are partly responsible for his lack of job offers, while John blames the demise of traditional industry for his situation and claims that working for the minimum wage would leave him poorer than on benefits.

1x03 Benefit Beauty Queens

  • 2016-03-31T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Documentary looking at people relying on state welfare who aspire to glamorous lifestyles for their families. Kim in Portsmouth is desperate for her three children to take the beauty pageant world by storm and has spent thousands of pounds pursuing their dreams, but her partner Matt is juggling one obsession with another as he has an online gaming habit. Meanwhile, 32-year-old Emma in Cornwall has been entering pageants for the last three years, and is determined her benefits budget won't hold her back.

1x04 Got Talent?

  • 2016-04-07T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Documentary about unemployed fame-hungry hopefuls, including Robert from Romford, who thinks he is a natural born entertainer, and mature model Kimberley from Dover. She had a taste of success in her twenties, but has lived on benefits for two decades. Cameras also follow Donna, who moved from Cape Town 11 years ago, but her stage persona has failed to make her much money.

1x05 Episode 5

  • 2016-04-14T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The documentary focuses on people living on state welfare in Portsmouth. Chris says he is looking for work, but that there are more shops closing down than opening up, while Carly and Drew spend their time playing darts, shopping and looking after their children, but they long for a better future. Barbara has a foot injury and is stuck between two benefit categories, meaning she has no money to live on, and Robert works as a part-time cleaner, but is stressed by the pressure the job centre is putting on him and the amount of rejection he faces as he searches for more work.

1x06 Episode 6

  • 2016-04-21T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Documentary telling the stories of people struggling to live on state welfare, something made all the more difficult by their individual battles with the bulge. Blossom lives in Brighton and has various health problems. Now she has discovered she many have cervical cancer and needs exploratory surgery - but at 25 stone, doctors have told her she is too fat to go under general anaesthetic. In Bexhill, Gina and Gary claim more than £10,000 a year in benefits. Gina has always been big but now she worries she has symptoms of diabetes. Archie near Manchester tips the scales at 26 stone and hasn't had a full-time job for six years. However, for four weeks of the year he earns money dressing up as Father Christmas.

1x07 Episode 7

  • 2016-04-28T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

People who rely on benefits for a place to live, including Aaron and Jamie in Margate who have recently moved into a new flat after a spell living in their car. Despite receiving about £20,000 a year in benefits they are worried about falling behind with the rent and apply for a discretionary housing payment. Plus, West Yorkshire couple Kim and Nathan, who have just set up home for the first time on the £900 a month. They are struggling to eat, however, so Nathan catches some rabbit - upsetting animal-lover Kim.

1x08 Episode 8

  • 2016-05-05T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Couples planning the perfect wedding on benefits, including Middlesbrough couple Ellie and John, who are young and in love but out of work. John is eager to give his fiancee the white wedding she craves - but is such a thing possible on benefits? The programme also catches up with Michelle and Steven from Plymouth, who recently celebrated their first anniversary. Both too overweight to work, they continue their attempts to diet while living off the state. Plus, the story of Joanna and Andrew from Cwmbran, who combined all their benefits with a loan to pay for their wedding, which was shown live on Channel 5 in the summer of 2015.

1x09 Episode 9

  • 2016-05-12T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

People struggling to live on the dole while also caring for their furry friends, including 33-year-old Sheffield woman Billie, who claims more than £5,000 a year and shares her one-bedroom council home with an astonishing 32 pets. Rugby husband and wife Kim and Gary claim £900 credit per month, but with debts of at least £2,000, they face the heart-breaking choice of losing either their home or some of their five pets. And depression-sufferer Paul prefers animals to people, finding comfort in caring for his 24 pets. He receive disability and employment support, but has been battling for some time to prove he is entitled to his benefits.

1x10 Episode 10

  • 2016-05-19T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The documentary focuses on four single parents struggling to provide for their children while living on state welfare. Lauren dreams of a career in the Army, where she would get help with childcare, and 40-year-old Joanne is struggling to heat the home she shares with her eight-year-old daughter. Craig has only recently taken sole responsibility for his daughter after the end of his relationship, while clairvoyant and mother-of-six Sue is planing a council house swap - but competition is fierce.

1x11 Episode 11

  • 2016-05-26T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The documentary meets three people who dream a career in showbusiness will finally get them off benefits. Doncaster single mum Charlene hopes to become a successful plus-sized burlesque dancer, and Kettering rocker Andy is using a government grant to set up his own music business, promoting himself by busking. in East Dulwich, south London, singer-songwriter Chad just about gets by on his Jobseeker's Allowance - but his real dream is to release his own single. He once appeared on The X Factor, only to be knocked back by the judges. Can he make more of a success this time round?

1x12 Benefits Special: 18 Kids and Claiming

  • 2016-06-02T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Women who claim benefits while looking after several children. They include Chesterfield mum Maria, who has five kids to five different dads and has not worked since 2002. She is so desperate to get off benefits she has signed herself up to the same college course as her daughter. Birmingham woman Karen has six children and a seventh on the way with partner Ashleigh - and although his job search is not going well he keeps himself busy in other ways. In Weymouth, Kate picks up almost £30,000 a year in benefits to supplement her husband Ian's income as a taxi driver - and spends more than £170 a month of this on pocket money for her seven kids.

1x13 Bargain Barbie and Desperate Dole Claimants

  • 2016-06-09T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Job-seekers whose benefits have been reduced by the Government, including Doncaster single mum Sammy who has had her income support cut by 20 per cent after missing a job centre appointment. Former security guard Brian from Gateshead had to leave his job due to poor health - only to have his benefits lowered when he was told he was not doing enough to find work. Bradford ex-con Anthony moved into a new flat - but could not afford a bed, cooker or washing machine - while in Stockton-on-Tees, mum-of-three Simone stripped off in protest when her sister's dole was cut.

1x14 Episode 14

  • 2016-06-16T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The documentary about living on benefits meets people struggling to survive island life. They include Tina, who is struggling to cope on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent - despite turning her life around and kicking her heroin habit, she is now finding life on the island tough thanks to her mobility problems. Single parent Matt lives in Cowes on the Isle of Wight, where the lack of jobs makes life a constant struggle, while Chrissy on Canvey Island in Essex is refusing to pay her rent as she believes her home is not up to scratch. As a result, however, she is facing eviction.

1x15 Episode 15

  • 2016-06-23T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

People who rely on benefits for a place to live, including Gloucester couple Anne-Marie and Shaun, who have a four-bedroom house and describe themselves as on the work scrapheap because of their health issues, and it is important to them that they qualify for more sickness and disability benefits to go towards their household budget. Plus, house-proud Shelley, who swapped her housing association property to let a family have her two-bedroom flat and avoid paying the bedroom tax.

1x16 Episode 16

  • 2016-06-30T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

People facing benefit problems in Wales, including a Tredegar man who bemoans the lack of opportunities in the Valleys and a Newport woman who wants a new flat and is thinking about having a baby - but needs a loan before any of that can happen. Plus, a man who had a successful business but lost everything. After a spell of homelessness, he now has a place to call home.

1x17 Episode 17

  • 2016-07-07T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Documentary about people living on benefits. Lisa spent seven years in prison for smuggling cocaine, and has been unemployed and on benefits ever since. James is dyslexic and surviving on only £13,000 a year, while Jai quit his job to move to the Scottish Highlands, where he has found little need for his benefit money.

1x18 Bargain Bride on Benefits

  • 2016-07-14T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The documentary focuses on three couples living on benefits. They include Karen and Paul who once ran a launderette, but after losing their business they now struggle to get by on benefits. Yvonne and David are getting married and planning to make it the best day ever - despite only being paid in a year the same amount as the cost of the average UK wedding. Things are even more bleak for Brian and Rachel, however, as despite being together for 10 years, they cannot afford to move in together.

1x19 Episode 19

  • 2016-07-21T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The documentary meets claimants living on the breadline in Yorkshire. They include 45-year-old Alex, who dreams of making it as a DJ and has just blown thousands of pounds on record decks, and Geordie couple Michelle and Thomas, who are now living in Leeds, where they are pushing for their children to have a better future. Plus, a Whitby man who says the sickness benefit he receives is only enough to feed his partner and baby daughter five days out of every seven.

1x20 Episode 20

  • 2016-07-28T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

People coping with medical conditions on top of their financial difficulties, featuring a family of four from Whitby who include a father with Tourette's and an autistic son. In Doncaster, a woman with cerebral palsy needs round-the-clock care, but that does not stop her campaigning for animal rights, while in Barnsley, a hoarder with a flat full of clutter has been deemed fit to work despite her arthritis - and now she has the bailiffs chasing her.

1x21 UK's Most Hated Woman?

  • 2016-08-04T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The documentary about people on benefits meets a whole new group - those who are living quite comfortably on little money. They include Worcester woman Susanne, who gave up work eight months ago due to a heart problem and now claims £1,600 a month. Eager to live the celebrity lifestyle, she drives a £28,000 car and hit the headlines after making an unsuccessful claim on a £33million National Lottery ticket. Others featured are Carl from the Isle of Sheppey, who spends most of his time and money at his local pub, and Bradford man Craig, who gave up his job two years ago to be a full-time single dad to his seven-year-old son.

1x22 Desperately Seeking Stardom

  • 2016-08-11T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Single mum Debra has a number of failed relationships behind her and now wants to buy her own home. When the chance of a part in a movie comes up, she hopes this will be the big break she is hoping for. Maidstone man Anthony thinks his epilepsy is putting off potential employers, Hull carer Anne Marie says she does not receive enough money to take her granddaughter out for day trips, while Steven from Southend spends his benefits helping to feed the homeless.

1x23 Costa del Dole

  • 2016-08-18T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The documentary focuses on claimants living by the sea. They include 50-year-old Gary, who recently moved to Jaywick in Essex to be with his partner Geoff in their dream coastal home, but now finds himself unemployed for the first time since he was 16. In the East Yorkshire town of Bridlington, homeless Caroline was taken in by good samaritan Heather. But now the flat is overcrowded and the friends desperately need rehousing.

1x24 Living the High Life

  • 2016-08-25T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The documentary about people fighting to make ends meet catches up with some of those featured in earlier editions. They include 54-year-old Londoner Kim, known as the `millionaire shoplifter', who is determined to leave her thieving days behind her. In Warrington, one-time Big Brother contestant Lisa's quest for fame is reinvigorated after a visit to a psychic. With a new agent and book deal on the horizon, she enjoys a VIP night out which gets the attention of the paparazzi. Meanwhile, after a cancer scare, Brighton woman Blossom is due for an exploratory operation - the results of which may be life-changing.

1x25 Single and Skint

  • 2016-09-01T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

The ongoing documentary series profiling some of Britain's welfare recipients continues, this time highlighting people who are keen to find love, all while struggling to make ends meet. In Norwich, 56-year-old Donna built an alter-ego as a means to escape a life of hand-outs, and is now tentatively trying her hand at online dating. Doncaster resident and sci-fi fan Carl, 39, tries to save some of the £140-a-month he receives in benefits to attend a comic convention, where he hopes to discover a mutual attraction with a like-minded girl. Meanwhile, in Bury St Edmunds, 25-year-old single mother Jade worries her OCD-driven cleaning routine is getting in the way of her quest to find the perfect - and gainfully employed - man.

1x26 The Bargain Queen

  • 2016-09-08T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Documentary series about people living on benefits, including 60-year-old Avril, who is one of the long-term unemployed. Her nickname is the Bargain Queen because she spends so much time at car-boot sales - although her biggest bargain so far is a free holiday, courtesy of her mother. Steve has just returned to the UK from Turkey and at 56 is facing unemployment for the first time in his life, and transgender Jess finds jobseeking difficult while she undergoes her transitional medical treatment.

1x27 Breadline Brummies

  • 2016-09-15T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Documentary series about people living on benefits. Meet a single mum who needs income support to help feed her children, a young man hoping to find a job to pay off his debts, a former ASBO kid trying to put his criminal past behind him and a woman deemed fit for work, contrary to her doctor's opinion.

1x28 Cash-Strapped Couples

  • 2016-09-22T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Documentary series about people living on welfare. Andy and Diane married three years ago when they were both working, however living on a severely reduced income has put a strain on their relationship. Suzanne and Derek are looking to move rather than pay bedroom tax on their four-bedroom home. Carl and Angie's benefits allowance is affected by his disability allowance and her wages from a part-time job. Stephan and Linda are deep in debt but spend ú12 a week feeding the homeless.

1x29 Breadline Brits

  • 2016-09-29T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

People who have served in the armed forces and now sign on.

1x30 And a Baby on the Way

  • 2016-10-06T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Amy is a 20-year-old mum trying to get by on benefits.

1x31 Compensation King

  • 2016-10-13T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Rob has been on the dole for 20 years.

1x32 Wannabe Famous and Claiming

  • 2016-10-20T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Documentary revisiting people living on welfare.

1x34 30 Stone and Claiming

  • 2016-11-03T00:00:00+00:00 — 1 min

The documentary revisits individuals featured in previous episodes to see how they are getting on.

1x35 Baked Bean King

  • 2016-11-10T00:00:00+00:00 — 1 min

Documentary series about people living on welfare.

1x36 Jaywick: Christmas on Benefits

  • 2016-12-15T00:00:00+00:00 — 1 min

A festive visit to England's most deprived village. Single mum Kim struggles to make her children's special day on a shoestring, while Boo hosts a free dinner for the local lost souls.

1x37 Heat or to Eat? That is the Question

  • 2017-02-12T00:00:00+00:00 — 1 min

A father of six must choose between feeding his family and heating.

1x39 Britains's Most Married Man

  • 2017-04-06T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

a 67 year-old man hopes his new Filipino wife will make him less of a burden om te state, and a Lowestoft carer who looks after his wife thinks a new home will bring them happiness.

1x40 Depressed, Stressed and Repossessed

  • 2017-04-13T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Stories of people struggling on benefits, including a former drag queen who lost his Spanish bar following a licensing dispute and is now claiming benefits for depression.

1x41 On the Breadline

  • 2017-04-20T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Welfare recipients from the Merseyside area. A man cannot find a job as his beliefs prevent him working on a Sunday, while a single mother has become an expert bargain hunter.

1x43 Could Work, Should Work

  • 2017-05-04T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

A former salesman who released an album, hoping music will be his rout off benefits. An Ex-soldier trying to turn his interest in photography into a career as a photojournalist.

1x44 Episode 44

  • 2017-05-11T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Single mum Vanessa dreams of being a model, so she tries to scrape together £195 to apply for a nationwide beauty contest. Single mum Tasha was signed off work for mental health, but the system has denied her long-term sickness benefits. Divorced mum Hannah has big dreams of becoming an artist, but with three children under six, it will be a struggle to find the time and confidence.

1x45 Britain's Benefits Blackspots

  • 2017-06-08T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Following a 34-year-old man who has been in and out of trouble with the police since leaving school, and a cab driver who has not worked since having an angina attack two years ago.

1x46 Living Hand to Mouth

  • 2017-06-15T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Following people struggling to live on state welfare in Wales, including a mother of five funding her children's singing lessons and piano teacher with a very rare heart condition.

1x47 It's a Hard Knock Life

  • 2017-06-22T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

A man who dreams of getting off benefits and into show business, a former publican who's type two diabetes is hindering her search for work, and a woman who wants to make it as a model.

1x48 In Sickness and in Wealth

  • 2017-06-29T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Blackpool martial arts enthusiast dismissed for breaking a colleague's nose, a Liverpool couple keen to get married on benefits, and an autistic man in need of a mobility scooter.

1x49 Generation Poverty Gap

  • 2017-07-06T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Claimants from across the generations, including a 32-year-old former fisherman, his 20-year-old partner and a 57-year-old former welder struggling to find work.

1x50 Money's Too Tight to Mention

  • 2017-07-13T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Catching up with a few familiar faces to find out how their lives have changed. Doncaster man Carl has been living on benefits since a motorcycle accident left him with multiple injuries. Now he has become the drummer in a band for musicians with disabilities. Karen and Paul lost their launderette business and are now rebuilding their home - the only problem is, they believe the house is haunted - and things are looking up for newlyweds Andy and Diane. Last in the series.

4x01 To Heat or To Eat? That's the Question

  • Season Premiere

    2017-02-12T00:00:00+00:00 — 1 min

A single father with six children cannot afford to both feed his family and heat their home, while a man who was seriously injured in a car accident more than 10 years ago struggles to prove to the authorities that he is unable to work, and a woman setting up a fortune telling business faces an uncertain future.

4x02 On Benefits & 40 Grand In Debt

  • 2017-03-23T00:00:00+00:00 — 1 min

Dad-of-three Dave is £30k in debt and has to weigh up whether a job that he has been offered will help his situation or whether he should stay on benefits, and Rapper Daz is in debt and about to be kicked out of his house unless fame and fortune knock on the door.

4x03 Britain's Most Married Man

  • 2017-03-30T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

67-year-old Ron believes his ninth wife, Cristel from the Philippines, will be the perfect carer for him in his old age, a carer who looks after his wife hopes a new home will bring happiness and Gwyn dreams of a life on the ocean waves.

4x04 90 Years Claiming

  • 2017-03-06T00:00:00+00:00 — 1 min

The stories of four people who have spent a total of almost 90 years on benefits. They include Greater Manchester couple Irene and Steve, who between them have been claiming for 70 years. Irene suffers with agoraphobia, and until recently husband Steve received a care allowance to look after her, but after a recent assessment their money has been cut by £6,000. Plus, a 49-year-old woman who once worked in the benefits office, only for her arthritis to leave her relying on the system, and a 57-year-old Navy veteran who suffers post-traumatic stress disorder after his experiences in the Gulf War.

4x05 Depressed, Stressed, and Repossessed

  • 2017-04-13T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Stories of people struggling on benefits. Mark from Cheltenham is a part-time drag queen who lost his Spanish bar after a licensing dispute. Now home and claiming sickness benefits for depression, he is keen to get well enough to work again. Plus, the stories of a widowed grandmother whose life has been tough since her drug-addicted grandson was sent to prison for attacking her, and a 63-year-old joiner who cannot work because of back trouble.

4x06 Breadline Scousers

  • 2017-04-20T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Jimmy cannot find a job as his religious views stop him working on the Sabbath. Nicola has become an expert bargain hunter to help stretch her benefits. Father of ten Joe has a number of serious health conditions and hasn't had a shower at home for years.

4x07 100 Stone and on the Dole

  • 2017-04-27T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

27-stone Sarah dreams of solving her family's financial problems by making it as a plus size model. For 31-stone James, a fear of public spaces could be holding him back. Meanwhile in Brighton, housebound MS-sufferer Bryan has taken up indoor archery.

4x08 Could Work, Should Work

  • 2017-05-04T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Marie dreams of getting back into security work, but life gets in the way. Mike was falsely accused, and now eats one meal a day in an attempt to save money. Billy hopes that music will be his route off benefits.

4x09 Episode 9

  • 2017-05-11T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Three single mothers' different experiences with the benefits system, including mother-of-five Vanessa from Leeds, who hopes that entering a nationwide beauty contest will kickstart her dreams of becoming a model. Plus, north Wales single mum Tasha, who was signed off work with mental health problems, only to be told she does not quality for long-tem sickness benefits, and divorcee Hannah from Basingstoke, who has big dreams of becoming an artist.

4x10 Britain's Benefits Blackspots

  • 2017-06-08T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Shaun is trying to fight the temptation to fall back into his criminal past and make a better future off the system. Leon has exhausted all the job opportunities in his area and must look further afield. Mark suffers from diabates, sciatica and angina, and has been begging the housing association to move him.

4x11 Living Hand to Mouth

  • 2017-06-15T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Wales is home to the famous Valleys and male voice choirs, but it's also home to the highest level of benefit claims in Britain. Dawn sepnds all her money looking after five children, Rachael relies on charity shops to clothe her family, while Claire's heart condition stops her finding a full-time job.

4x12 It's a Hard Knock Life

  • 2017-06-22T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

James hopes that his alter ego Mrs Plonker will help him get into showbiz and off benefits. Melissa dreams of being a model to get her family of three off the system. Tracy has type-2 diabetes, hindering her efforts to look for work.

4x13 In Sickness and in Wealth

  • 2017-06-29T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

In Blackpool, Kung Fu master Mark hopes to get back in to paid employment after being dismissed for breaking a colleague's nose, despite having his benefits cut William has a mobility scooter on his shopping list, and Clive and Sheila are planning to get married on a benefits budget.

4x14 Generation Poverty Gap

  • 2017-07-06T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

In Britain there are over 700,000 people reliant on benefits, and they include people of all ages. 32-year-old Richard is eager to get his five-member family out of their two-bedroom home. 57-year-old Clive's partying gets in the way of keeping a job. Pensioner Cori's lack of teeth spoils her plans for stardom, so is trying to find a proxy to get into the music industry by.

4x15 Money's Too Tight to Mention

  • 2017-07-13T00:00:00+01:00 — 1 min

Catching up with a few familiar faces to find out how their lives have changed. Doncaster man Carl has been living on benefits since a motorcycle accident left him with multiple injuries. Now he has become the drummer in a band for musicians with disabilities. Karen and Paul lost their launderette business and are now rebuilding their home - the only problem is, they believe the house is haunted - and things are looking up for newlyweds Andy and Diane.