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Welfare Reform on the Web (May 2010): Social security - overseas

Controlled and dependent: experiences of living on social assistance in Sweden

A. Marttilla and others

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol. 19, 2010, p. 142-151

This study explored the experiences of people living on social assistance in 21st century Sweden, based on 33 in-depth interviews conducted in 2005 and 2006. Two overarching themes emerged from the accounts, encompassing both a material and a psychosocial dimension of living on social assistance. Recipients reported that social assistance was generally sufficient for their basic material needs but allowed for no extras. Perceptions of powerlessness, hopelessness and dependency were common and had the most damaging consequences for the recipients' perceived well being.

Financial self-sufficiency or return to welfare? A longitudinal study of mothers among the working poor

T. Cheng

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.19, 2010, p. 162-172

This study investigated factors predictive of a return to welfare among working-poor mothers who had withdrawn from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) scheme. Results showed that 57% of the working-poor spells analysed ended in the mothers transitioning to working nonpoor status. This indicates that working-poor former TANF recipients were more likely to become working nonpoor than to return to TANF. College education, full-time employment, housing assistance, operative skills and marriage were helpful in raising the family income above the poverty level. Women's return to TANF was associated with unemployment, restrictive welfare policies, enrolment in Medicaid and Food Stamp programmes, possession of service-job skills and being Hispanic.

Food stamp program participation, informal supports, household food security and child food security: a comparison of African American and Caucasian households in poverty

ManSoo Yu, M. Lombe and V.E. Nebbitt

Children and Youth Services Review, vol. 32, 2010, p. 767-773

The United States is a very wealthy country, but in 2006 35.5 million people lived in food insecure households. The Food Stamps Program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) as of October 1st 2008) is one of the largest federal welfare initiatives aimed at tackling hunger. This study provides information about similarities and differences in child food security between the two groups. Findings suggest a racial disparity in food stamp take-up. African American households were more likely to participate in the food stamps programme than Caucasian households. However, food stamp programme participation played a significant role in alleviating food insecurity among children in Caucasian households but was unrelated to child food security in African American households. For both racial groups, access to community and informal food supports appeared to be important for child food security.

Permanent disability social insurance programs in Japan

D. Rajnes

Social Security Bulletin, vol.70, no.1, 2010, p. 61-84

This article examines Japan's permanent disability social insurance programme, about which limited information is available outside Japan. Primary public pension systems and their corresponding programmes for permanently disabled workers and their families are described, including trends in the numbers of beneficiaries and benefit expenditures. Importantly, this article also analyses the determination and appeals processes in Japan for claiming permanent social insurance disability pensions. The study also compares the Japanese scheme with the US Social Security Disability Insurance programme which shares its basic social insurance design.

The role of social security in South Africa

E. Kaseke

International Social Work, vol. 53, 2010, p. 159-168

This article examines the role of the social security system in South Africa in the prevention and reduction of poverty and inequality based on a review of the literature. However, the categorical approach towards claimants and the system's lack of comprehensiveness limit its capacity to achieve its aims. Unfortunately the prospects of increasing coverage by raising the number of contributors to social insurance are not bright, given the global recession and rising unemployment.

Social protection for orphans and vulnerable children in Zimbabwe: the case for cash transfers

M.T. Mushunje and M. Mafico

International Social Work, vol.53, 2010, p. 261-275

Figures suggest that there are about 1.7million orphans in Zimbabwe, with 980,000 due to AIDS. The situation is likely to worsen due to recurrent droughts, economic meltdown and the HIV/AIDS epidemic. This article presents the case for the introduction of cash transfers as a form of social protection for orphans and vulnerable children. Cash transfers can be defined as regular non-contributory payments of money provided by the government or NGOs to individuals or households.

Social security and development in East Asia

J. Lee and K.-W. Chung (guest editors)

China Journal of Social Work, vol. 3, 2010, p.1-87

The global financial crisis of 2008 has battered East Asian economies, but presents them with a window of opportunity to rethink their social protection systems. The numbers of poor people working outside of formal employment and not covered by social protection systems are growing due to the impact of economic globalisation. This special issue presents three examples of efforts to reform social security systems over the last decade: the Minimum Living Standard Scheme in China; the challenges of healthcare financing in China; and social security development in Macau.

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