Back to top

Dependency of Welfare Clients on Benefits and Services

Dr. Gabriel Amitsis and Fotini MariniInstitute for Social Innvovation, Greece

Introduction

The development and implementation of social welfare policies in Cyprus is a complex process oriented to the coverage of needs and the promotion of social citizenship rights. The present Report, final deliverable of a study financed under the Community Action Programme to Combat Exclusion (2002-2006), focuses on the analysis of the most important and influential welfare instrument in Cyprus, the Public Relief Scheme (Public Assistance Scheme). In effect, the scope of the study address three major issues related to the institutional framework of minimum income in Cyprus (provision, conditionality and membership). These issues concern the
following main questions:

  • Which institutions provide welfare services and benefits to meet the needs of individual citizens (provision)?
  • To what extent are welfare rights conditional on individuals agreeing to meet communally defined responsibilities and duties (conditionality)?
  • Who has a legitimate claim to minimum income rights (membership)?

Such research can be further enhanced if these questions are considered in relation to the fundamental element of welfare provision, the coverage of subsistence needs through minimum income schemes or programs. Focusing on this area of welfare allows the research to explore pertinent issues in a single context and offers the possibility of a more complex understanding.

The scope of the study

The scope of the study relates to the analysis of one of the key aspects of poverty and social exclusion in Cyprus, which focus on the elaboration of instruments to decrease or prevent dependency on social welfare cash allowances. This is a study of particular
concern for the domestic public welfare scheme, given that national measures on social assistance are heavily oriented to the provision of income support benefits and the guarantee of subsistence means for specific target groups (elderly, disabled, single-parent families etc). During the study, the following tasks were fulfilled:

  • Monitoring the implementation of national welfare policy measures in the context of the Nice objectives through the use of institutional and social policy indicators available or produced after consultation with officials and administrators form the national Ministry of Labour and Social Security;
  • Analysing the existing legal framework and social policy measures adopted to combat poverty and social exclusion in Cyprus;
  • Indicating gaps and shortcomings related to the dependence of welfare beneficiaries from cash allowances, which may endanger or put into question their ability to integrate into the labour market and the mainstreaming society;
  • Recommending scenarios and instruments to decrease welfare dependency and strengthen workfare, activation and insertion approaches to social assistance.

This article was published by Institute of Social Innovation (ISI), Greece. Please find the full article on the ISI website.

16 Jun 2011