The report focuses on the potential ways of improving the mechanisms of providing housing&utilities, transportation and communication privileges developed under the Social Assistance Reform Project. The report includes a number of reform scenarios with a detailed description of their expected impacts on the beneficiaries of privileges, budget expenditures, the targeting and poverty levels, and income distribution in the society. Based on the scenarios evaluation, the recommendations on ways of improving the mechanisms of providing the above mentioned privileges are presented.
The report provides an overview of international experience in providing support to the population for the use of communication services. The experience of the USA, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Kazakhstan and Latvia is described. For the post-Soviet countries, a brief overview of reforms in the sector implemented after the Soviet Union collapse is presented.
The report provides a detailed description of the research and modeling results in the field of housing subsidies of Ukraine conducted under the Social Assistance Reform Project. The report presents seven scenarios of improving the housing subsidy program and the anticipated impacts of their introduction on the recipients of subsidies, budget expenditures, the targeting and poverty levels, as well as on the income distribution in the society. Scenarios were developed based on the analysis of the housing subsidy system in Ukraine, as well as on the practices of housing support in Central and Eastern Europe.
The document contains a detailed description of Kyrgyzstan social privileges system and the country’s experience in monetizing housing, fuel and transportation privileges. Almost a quarter of households in the country enjoy the privileges. 98% of recipients receive privileges with no means-test. For more than a decade, the Kyrqyz Government has been reforming the system of privileges to increase the targeting of social support, but privileges are still enjoyed by non-poor population. Therefore, the Government of KR aims to continue reforming the privileges system, including monetization of all the privileges, reduction of the beneficiaries’ categories, and increase in coverage of poor families woth social assistance. The paper also describes attempts to improve the targeting of a single monthly benefit, which is granted upon means-testing.
The report describes the organization of social protection system and implementation of active employment policy in Bulgaria. Having faced the surge in unemployment caused by economic reforms, which reached 18.5% in 2001, Bulgaria, with the support of international donors, has implemented numerous programs of returning unemployed persons to the labor market. The report presents the detailed description of these programs. It also contains information on the programs of housing subsidies and social assistance.
The report contains a comparative analysis of social protection model developed and operating in Mykolaiv oblast and the conventional social protection model in Ukraine. The former is characterized by high social assistance targeting level and covers virtually all persons in need. The distinguishing feature of this system is rural centers of Labor and Social Protection that serve for receiving applications, informing applicants, carrying out work to detect all the needy, inspecting living conditions of applicants, and providing social services to single unable-to-work persons. Given the high performance of this model, experience of Mykolayiv oblast may be worth expanding on the territory of Ukraine.
Over the past fifteen years the social assistance systems of developed countries have experienced substantial changes. Although such changes vary from country to country, a number of common trends are observed, such as the introduction of stricter employment-related conditions for social assistance beneficiaries, segmentation of services according to the categories of recipients, involvement of other organizations to providing services to the unemployed, and merging different organizations providing unemployment benefits and social assistance into ‘one-stop cetners’. The report presents the experience of interaction between employment and welfare offices in Denmark, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Sweden, as well as analyzes practices that might be worth borrowing.
For targeting social assistance to the neediest population, means-testing of applicants is used. According to international practice, there is no uniform method of targeting social assistance that would be optimal for different social assistance programs and all countries. Applying complex methods of direct income estimation incurs high administrative costs, while simple means-testing methods are characterized by low accuracy. Scoring method involves the use of simple observable household characteristics for proxy means-testing of an applicant’s income and thus helps avoid fraud and errors associated with income declaration. The document describes methods of targeting social assistance and the results of their use in the world. The report contains a detailed analysis of pros and cons of applying scoring means-testing method.
The paper presents recommendations on methodologies for calculating households’ standard agro-income for social assistance granting purposes. Three methods that are based on the use of 1) statistical data on agriculture, 2) household budget survey data and 3) consumer basket comparisons are considered in the paper. Applying the methodologies allows defining average household’s income from 1 hectare of land and from one head of cattle, pigs or poultry. The influence of application of the standard agro-income on social assistance programs is also analyzed.
The report presents the concept of granting social assistance to unemployed able-to-work individuals based on their participation in public (socially significant) works. It contains a comparative analysis of different options of implementing the mechanism of public works and estimates of their potential impact on the performance of the social assistance system. The report also provides a legal conclusion on the feasibility of introducing mechanism of public works for unemployed able-to-work applicants in Ukraine and a brief overview of Central and Eastern European countries’ experience in implementing public works mechanisms in their social assistance systems.