Click here to skip to content

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

Grandparenting in Europe

Grandparents Plus, 2010

This study shows that grandparents are now playing a more significant role in European family life. Improved health keeps them active long into their grandchildren's lives while the increasing numbers of mothers returning to work left them providing after school care. In contrast to the UK, some European countries have recognised the benefits of grandparent care. In Germany, parents can transfer up to a year of work leave to older relations. In Portugal, grandparents can take up to a month off work and receive some financial assistance to look after grandchildren who are unwell. They are given an allowance if they live with their grandchildren and teenage mothers. In the UK, although a third of working mothers are thought to rely on grandparents to provide child care, they cannot transfer maternity leave to them or pay them with tax credits or vouchers as happens elsewhere in Europe.

Housing wealth and housing decisions in old age: sale and reversion

J. Costa-Font, J. Gil and O. Mascarilla

Housing Studies, vol.25, 2010, p. 375-395

This paper examines a set of hypotheses revolving around whether an individual's income/wealth determines their willingness to sell their house to finance old age care. It also looks at the determinants of an individual's willingness to take out a reverse mortgage contract loan to cover expenditure on old age care. Evidence was drawn from two databases in Spain. Findings suggest that a person's willingness to sell is determined by their level of housing satisfaction, their preferences regarding ageing in place, and their health needs. Conversely, uptake of home reversion loans is largely dependent on income and education.

Identifying key barriers to unemployment insurance for disadvantaged workers in the United States

H.L. Shaefer

Journal of Social Policy, vol. 39, 2010, p. 439-460

This article seeks to identify programmatic barriers to access to Unemployment Insurance (UI) faced by two groups of disadvantaged workers in the United States: those in the lowest wage quintile and part-time workers who are primary wage earners. Analyses use the 2001 panel of the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Results suggest that a large majority of disadvantaged workers in the US already meet UI earnings (monetary) requirements, and that barriers to access are more often the result of disadvantaged workers assuming that they are ineligible or not meeting non-monetary eligibility requirements because they voluntarily quit their job or were sacked for good reasons. Increasing UI access among disadvantaged workers will require increasing application rates through expanded knowledge about the programme workers and expanding (non-monetary) eligibility for job leavers.

Rise up and work! Workless people with impaired health under Germany's new activation regime

M. Brussig and M. Knuth

Social Policy and Society, vol. 9, 2010, p. 311-323

As of 2005 Germany merged two benefits for workless people devoid of contribution-based unemployment insurance entitlements into a new flat rate benefit financed mainly from the federal budget, Unemployment Benefit II. The aim of the reform was to create unified job centres focused on activating job seekers and addressing their many barriers to labour force participation. This article explores the effects of the new regime on claimants with impaired health by re-analysing data from a recent customer panel survey.

The uncompassionate elements of the Compassionate Care Benefits Program: a critical analysis

J. Flagler and W. Dong

Global Health Promotion, vol.17, 2010, p. 50-59

In Canada, responsibility for caring for the dying often falls to friends and family members. In order to assist in this type of informal end of life care, the Canadian government implemented the Compassionate Care Benefits (CCBs) programme in January 2004, as a sub-programme under Canada's Employment Insurance. However, since the current Employment Insurance programme's regulations pose a number of barriers for non-standard employees, many informal caregivers are automatically excluded from the CCBs. This is especially true for those who belong to marginalised social groups and women.

Search Welfare Reform on the Web