Social security or insecurity? The experience of welfare participation by financially vulnerable households in the Netherlands

Olaf Simonse*, Gabry Vanderveen, Lotte F. van Dillen, Wilco W. van Dijk, Eric van Dijk

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Social welfare aims to support financially vulnerable households by protecting them from financial shocks and providing them with a basic standard of living. Many eligible households, however, do not take up social welfare. We present the results of in-depth interviews with 31 members of financially vulnerable households in two large Dutch cities about their experiences with welfare. We examined the role of money in their lives, what inhibited them from taking up social welfare, and how they sought support. For many interviewed households, money was a source of stress. The fear of reclaims and mistrust of government institutions were the main inhibitors to participating in welfare programs. Whereas the experience of shame and stigma were substantial inhibitors for claiming local welfare benefits, they were not for participating in national welfare programs. Formal and informal help promoted welfare participation, but many participants lacked access to both. We discuss policies that could decrease the perceived uncertainty of benefits receipt and give directions for future research.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSocial Policy and Administration
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding information: Ministry of Finance - Netherlands

Publisher Copyright: © 2022 The Authors. Social Policy & Administration published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

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