40 years of social assistance in Belgium

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40 years of social assistance in Belgium by Marjolijn De Wilde Bea Cantillon Frank Vandenbroucke en Maria Bie This year Belgium’s public centres for welfare are celebrating their 40th birthday and a number other researchers decided to mark the occasion writing book about trends evolutions they have observed within these Among recommendations authors call partial automation practice The 1974 marked turning point development Belgian From then on citizens with insufficient means who were unable rely supplementary allowances such as sickness benefits or jobseeker’s allowance entitled minimum income (bestaansminimum) (Openbare Centra voor Maatschappelijk Welzijn OCMWs) founded 1976 core aim guaranteeing right human dignity These also tasked paying called bestaansminimum which was replaced leefloon 2002 new Years Social Assistance (Dutch: jaar OCMW bijstand) published ACCO takes closer look at assistance’s evolution highlights concerns policy future Conclusions book: In early around 10 000 people received every By 2015 almost 140 receive increase can be attributed part changes itself (personalised approach increased access specific groups e g students) At same time surge reflects failure security system A growing perhaps because build up rights (because work shorter periods) not eligible certain (e immigrants school leavers) system’s conditionality has been jobseeker sanctions) Moreover this growth that an increasing recipients coming face-to-face going through problematic evolutions: 1 is weak protection primarily too low As result most families live dignified life Secondly transfer from employment remains very difficult Thirdly struggles high non-take-up: many benefit do it embarrassment administrative obstacles problems follow-up procedures It more becoming dependent inadequate 2 principle payment goes hand-in-hand intensive individual carried out workers allowed amount discretion order offer tailor-made line client’s needs capacities If level personal high-quality offered ever-increasing group will ultimately compromised 3 local governments granted substantial when comes adapted requirements Ultimately however population results decentralisation despite fact never objective (as Netherlands example) lack additional funds municipalities 4 recent decades conditions linked Conditionality help activate sense indispensable instrument However should always kept mind last safety net without nowhere else turn Policy recommendations: light above caution against referral branches They example granting living wage would allow focus important integration counselling deemed based data properly personalised Public feedback systems anonymous comparisons similar could give them insights into impact choices More generally argue favour policy-making competences using carefully considered networks Flemish authors: Sarah Carpentier Daniel Cuypers Joris Corte Filip Rynck Koen Hermans Kim Lievens Chris Luigjes Marchal Karel Neels Ides Nicaise Peter Raeymaeckers Bérénice Storms Dirk Torfs Van den Bosch Johan Vandenbussche Natascha Mechelen Wim van Oorschot Zamora Franck (ed ) ISBN 978 94 6292 724 7 // 2016 272 p 34 50 euros Further information: www acco be/40jaarOCMW