A recent Guardian article looked at the ways writers have, historically, used state benefits to support their careers. A. L. Kennedy wrote:
Being on one’s own with time is what will teach a writer to write. Although I was terrified at the time, the space that state benefits bought me allowed me to make many – if not all – of the major decisions that have governed my working life. I was able to set up house in a tiny bedsit and write job application letters by day and short stories at night. Without that initial breathing space, I’d have been sunk. Since then – having received benefits for something like 15 months – I have earned money every year and paid tax every year. I love paying tax, if it can mean I’m passing on that favour.