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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2005): Social Security - Overseas

The past in the present: Portuguese social security reform

S. Ferrreira

Social Policy and Society, vol.4, 2005, p. 331 - 338

Different models have always been present in the Portuguese social security system. One is based on social insurance, where earnings-related mechanisms are central. This model is supported by the social partners and by the system bureaucrats. The other model is more universalistic and is inspired by social democratic ideas, but does not enjoy the support of influential social groups. Thus, although policies developed through the principle of positive differentiation seemed to facilitate a path shift towards a more universalistic model, these measures also opened up space for more selectivity and residualisation. Factors are also present which help minimise the effectiveness of reform measures. These include: unequal access of social groups to the policy arena, the weakness of the labour unions, the ability of system bureaucrats at times to determine how policies are implemented, and the marginalisation of social security issues in the political agenda.

The roles of employment barriers in welfare exits and re-entries after welfare reform: event history analyses

Y. Nam

Social Service Review, vol.79, 2005, p.268-293

This study uses data from the Women's Employment Study and administrative data from the Michigan Family Independence Agency to examine the factors associated with welfare exits and re-entries. A wide range of human capital and other barriers are shown to play important roles in determining welfare programme participation. In addition, the number of employment barriers is predictive. Those with multiple barriers not only leave welfare for work at a lower rate than those with few barriers, but also leave welfare without working at a higher rate. In addition, they have a higher rate of returning to welfare. The findings also suggest that it is more difficult to leave welfare for marriage now than before welfare reform, and that it is now more difficult to remain on welfare for extended periods.

TANF sanctioning and hardship

N.E. Reichman, J.O. Teitler and M.A. Curtis

Social Service Review, vol.79, 2005, p.215-236

Study uses data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Survey of new parents in large US cities. These data are used to compare hardships among Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) recipients who have been sanctioned (i.e. lost benefits) for non-compliance to those among recipients who were not sanctioned. Results show that, compared to non-sanctioned mothers, those who have been sanctioned are at high risk of hunger, electricity and gas disconnection, financial hardship, inadequate medical care, homelessness, poor physical health and reliance on family and friends for housing.

Welfare reform and substance abuse

L.R. Metsch and H.A. Pollack

Milbank Quarterly, vol.83, 2005, p.65-99

Before the passage of the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act there was concern about its impact on low-income mothers with substance abuse disorders. However data suggest that only a small minority of welfare recipients have serious substance abuse disorders. These are more likely to be prevalent in a subset of recipients with complex and multiple barriers to work. Such recipients need a mix of relevant services, including access to education, training and childcare as well as drug abuse treatment.

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