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Welfare Reform on the Web (August 2006): Social security - overseas

Barriers to identifying substance abuse in the reformed welfare system

S. Henderson, D. Dohan and L.A. Schmidt

Social Service Review, vol.80, 2006, p.217-238

The 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act introduced a requirement for state and local welfare agencies to require recipients to undergo substance abuse treatment with a view to improving their employability. This article explores why agencies have had minimal success in identifying clients with substance abuse problems and referring them for treatment. Welfare workers’ accounts reveal time and resource constraints, fear of damaging fragile relationships with clients, lack of training and the stigma associated with substance abuse as barriers to identification efforts.

The emergence of social assistance in China

J.C.R. Leung

International Journal of Social Welfare, vol.15, 2006, p.188-198

The author outlines the development of China’s national social assistance programmes, which is at present being given high priority by the central government. China is facing the challenging task of designing an over-arching social protection system that will cover retirement pensions, health care, unemployment support and poverty alleviation.

Employment transition measures

Anon

European Industrial Relations Review, issue 389, 2006, p.22-23

Article describes a pilot project which aims to ease the transition of redundant workers into new jobs in seven areas of France. The scheme allows redundant workers to combine job search with attendance at training courses and/or work on fixed term contracts. They will also have access to a personal employment counsellor and targeted assistance provided by local employment offices. They are entitled to a “transition allowance” equivalent to 80% of their previous gross salary.

The formation of social insurance institutions of the Baltic States in the post-socialist era

J. Aidukaite

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.16, 2006, p.259-270

This paper examines differences in the development of the social security systems of the Baltic States after they gained independence from the former Soviet Union. These countries were incorporated into the Soviet Union after World War II and subject to the same social security regime as the rest of the country. However, since independence they have developed differently. In terms of the typology defined by Korpi and Palme in 1998, the social security system of Latvia and Estonia can be described as a mix of the basic security and corporatist models, with some weak elements of targeting. In Lithuania, a combination of the basic security and targeted models has emerged.

From means-test schemes to basic income in Brazil: exceptionality and paradox

L. Lavinas

International Social Security Review, vol.59, July-Sept. 2006, p.103-125

Brazil has passed legislation in January 2004 introducing a basic minimum income for all its citizens. This article reflects upon how such a system could work in practice. It presents proposals for a gradual move from means-tested programmes to a basic income through the implementation of a universal child benefit scheme.

Legislative reform of the labour disablement system

Anon

European Industrial Relations Review, issue 389, 2006, p.18-21

On 1st January 2006 new legislation on social assistance for disabled workers came into force in the Netherlands, marking another phase in the ongoing reform of a costly system that allows several hundred thousand employees to claim disability benefit. This article reviews the context and detail of the law.

Responsible but uninformed? Nonprofit executive and program directors’ knowledge of welfare reform

R.J. Kissane

Social Services Review, vol.80, 2006, p.322-345

Extensive qualitative research reported in this article demonstrates that directors of nonprofit agencies serving the poor lack a comprehensive understanding of the new rules governing welfare provision in the US since the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act came into force. Increasing directors’ level of knowledge is critical if these agencies are to act as advocates and sources of information on the changes.

The Turkish welfare regime in transformation

A. Bugra and C. Keyder

Journal of European Social Policy, vol.16, 2006, p.211-228

The current Turkish welfare regime is corporatist and covers only workers in the formal economy who have contributed to the various funds and their dependants. The rural population and workers in the urban informal sector are excluded, and depend on family support in times of need. However the social security funds are under pressure due to rising claims from workers in the informal sector who have not contributed but are classed as dependants of a family who has. The World Bank, the IMF, the business community and the conservative ruling government favour privatisation of the system and the introduction of personal assumption of risks in order to control spending. At the same time there are calls for the introduction of a universal social security system to promote social cohesion.

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