The level of basic social security in Finland has improved both in real terms and compared to the wages in 2011–2015, but it is not adequate to cover reasonable minimum costs determined in reference budgets. Reforms in benefit and tax legislation during 2011–2015 have decreased the income inequalities and the poverty risk. This was the conclusion of the second expert group for evaluation of the adequacy of basic social security whose report is now released in English. While welcoming the minor improvements in 2011-2015, the key question for social NGOs is how is it going to be in 2015-2019.
The report is the result of an internationally exceptional piece of legislation which entered into force in Finland in 2010. The Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have to commission every fourth year an evaluation of the development of the adequacy of basic social security from an independent evaluation group. The first evaluation report was released in 2011 and it generated international interest among researchers and experts, which indicated the need to make the report available to English as well. The second evaluation report was released in February 2015 and is now available in English.
Adequacy of basic social security in Finland 2011–2015. The second expert group for evaluation of the adequacy of basic social security. Kela Research Department. Working papers 80/2015. 143 pages. Helsinki 2015. ISSN 2323-9239.
New Eurofound study on non-take-up (or ‘non-give-out’) of social benefits may be of interest to you. This study identifies recent estimates of non-take-up in 16 Member States that vary considerably in terms of welfare state design. The study argues that it is likely that non-take-up is also an issue in the other 12 Member States. Estimates suggest that in each of the Member States identified, there is at least one type of benefit for which over one-third of people who are entitled to it do not receive it. Non-take-up is an issue for a broad range of benefits and is not restricted to those that are means-tested. This focus on non-take-up and the extent of non-take-up in comparison to miss use of social benefits, is very useful to counteract populists stories of exploitation of social benefits. Access the report at
In 2015, as part of the ‘DRIVERS for Health Equity’ project, led by EuroHealthNet, EAPN published a report, ‘synthesis of case-study evidence on income and social protection support and its links to health inequalities’. The report was produced with the Centre for Health Equity Studies (CHESS). Authored by Fiona McHardy with Olle Lundberg, this research undertook a case study approach exploring in a comparative country context, the impact of social protection system, both operations and provisions, on health inequality, in Hungary, Poland, UK, Sweden and Portugal. The research evidence indicated that income inadequacy was a core issue impacting individuals across the countries within the research and this often had negative impacts on their lives as subsistence did not allow them to meet their needs including health needs. The publication also includes a very useful EAPN toolkit on how to develop focus groups (Annex 2 – Page 31). Open the Report and Toolkit here