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The research also revealed that 4% of people reported that they had been physically abusedReuters

Hundreds of thousands of people claiming benefits have been physically and verbally abused, according to a poll by YouGov on behalf of the Who Benefits? coalition campaign.

The survey, which questioned 2,352 people in July, found that 15% of those receiving benefits said they had experienced verbal abuse because they are getting support from benefits.

The research also revealed that 4% of people reported that they had been physically abused.

This amounts to 795,000 people facing verbal abuse and 212,000 facing physical abuse for claiming support, according to Department for Work and Pensions figures.

"We need to change the way we talk about benefits," said Katharine Sacks-Jones, head of policy and campaigns at the homelessness charity Crisis.

"Until we do, hundreds of thousands of people will continue to face abuse and be denied essentials, whether it's a bank account or a roof over their heads, simply because they receive some extra support to make ends meet.

"Our benefits system should help people when they fall on difficult times and support them to live with dignity, instead many find themselves isolated and excluded from society.

"Until we change the debate and acknowledge the real reasons that people need support – be it low pay, disability, illness, homelessness or mental health problems – decent people will continue to suffer."

The research also revealed that more than three in ten (38%) of people supported by benefits said they worried that the public thought negatively about them, and that their self-esteem was affected as a result.

In addition, 31% of respondents said worrying about public perceptions was impacting on their mental health.

Self-esteem, confidence and mental health are all key factors in helping people to get back on their feet and on with their lives, Who Benefits? pointed out.