Change search
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf
ESPN Thematic Report on minimum income schemes: Sweden 2015
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI).
2016 (English)Report (Other (popular science, discussion, etc.))
Abstract [en]

Most benefits and transfers in Sweden are based on individual entitlements and are administered at the national level. In such cases, the eligibility criteria and entitlement levels are uniform throughout the country. The only scheme in Sweden that qualifies as a minimum income benefit is the social assistance programme (Ekonomiskt Bistånd/Försörjningsstöd), which targets people in households that lack sufficient means to support themselves – not just work income, but also access to contributory social insurance benefits. Unlike most other benefits and transfers, eligibility for social assistance is thus determined at the level of the household. One way or another, social assistance defines the ‘floor’ of the Swedish welfare state: its explicit purpose is to provide an economic standard below which no one, in principle, should be able to fall. In Sweden, social assistance is a true system of last resort. As such, it is not used as a passport to other benefits. Rather the opposite applies.

The basic scale rates of social assistance are set nationally, but financing and administration is at the local municipality level. Sweden has 290 municipalities, and in terms of implementation, these have substantial leeway. They are allowed to pay more, but not less.

People receiving social assistance are obliged to seek work (if possible) and to participate in active labour market programmes. The duration of social assistance is unlimited, and payments are made as long as eligibility conditions are met.

When it comes to the adequacy of social assistance, we can note two important aspects: a) the level of adequacy compared to the at-risk-of-poverty (AROP) threshold is poor; b) viewed over the last 10 to 15 years, there has been a gradual decline in adequacy levels. The first point is evident from the fact that social assistance levels are quite far from the 60% poverty threshold for all family types analysed. The declining trend is somewhat less evident after the 2008 crisis, at least for families with children.

Take-up rates have been roughly stable over the past few years, as has the number of long-term recipients – though that figure is much larger today than before the severe recession in Sweden in the early 1990s.

Sweden has not implemented any so-called one-stop shops, which provide a common entry to all social benefits and services. Instead, emphasis is placed on cooperation between public authorities at different levels of government, in order to foster greater coordination. Such coordinated actions may be hindered by the fact that different benefit and service systems operate at different governance levels. We would note that back in 2012, only a small fraction of municipalities in Sweden had written guidelines for cooperation between the local Social Welfare Agency and state-organised offices and agencies. If Sweden decides to continue with its attempts to foster coordination and cooperation, rather than one-stop shops, it would seem to us to be a minimum requirement that such guidelines should be developed right across the country.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Brussels: European Union , 2016. , p. 18
National Category
Sociology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-139872OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-139872DiVA, id: diva2:1075097
Available from: 2017-02-17 Created: 2017-02-17 Last updated: 2018-02-21Bibliographically approved

Open Access in DiVA

No full text in DiVA

Other links

Free full text

Search in DiVA

By author/editor
Nelson, Kenneth
By organisation
The Swedish Institute for Social Research (SOFI)
Sociology

Search outside of DiVA

GoogleGoogle Scholar

urn-nbn

Altmetric score

urn-nbn
Total: 7 hits
CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf