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1 (19) 2013

Demography and social economy, 2013, 1(19):47-56
doi: https://doi.org/10.15407/dse2013.01.047

O.V. Makarova
Ph.D. in econ., Senior Researcher, Ptoukha Institute for demography and social studies of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

Section: Efficiency of social policy.
Language: Ukrainian
Abstract: Among the main components of the social policy of Ukraine the implementation of social support programs remains a priority. According to the survey of household living conditions, about 60% of households are covered by some type of social assistance. The privilegs program, used by almost half of households, is the most common. However, assessment of impact of programs shows varied results: there is still a high poverty level among families with children (especially with children under the age of 3 and large families) while the level of wages does not guarantee poverty protection. On the other hand propagation of paternalist mentality and little activity in seeking independent ways out of difficult situations are observed. Insufficient effectiveness of social assistance programs is caused by the legislation imperfection and the difficulties of adequate needs assessment of applicants for social assistance.
Apparently, financial assistance is not the best kind of poverty protection, because it does not eliminate its reasons, among which the main are: absence of suitable work or qualification, disability, serious illness, property or housing loss and inability of family to carry out its functions adequately. Therefore, the emphasis of the social policy should be shifted from material assistance assignment to the implementation of social inclusion measures, return to the labor market and independent living. According to the survey4, most of the recipients have problems with employment. Particularly, almost 40% of the families that receive childcare assistance (children under the age of 3) and low-income family assistance, include unemployed and able-bodied individuals who want to find work. The main reasons that prevented employment were: lack of permanent job or professional job, low wages. Almost one out five families mentioned family circumstances as the reason.
One of the reasons for long-term poverty of the applicants for benefits are the established poverty mental attitudes. As a rule, such people do not believe in their own strength and that there is a demand for their experience and knowledge, they are afraid of changes; not relying on their own strength, they just count on government assistance, they often show life passivity, and have understated self-appraisal. Such situation is particularly dangerous for families with children, as a child who grows up in a poor family is more likely to live in poverty in future in adult life.
Even a traditional type of assistance such as benefit for the childcare (under the age of 3) affects the recipients psychology. A woman after childbirth finds herself in a social situation that can cause understated self-appraisal, a sense of social irrelevance, financial inability and absence of any prospect. Studies confirm the fact that the families of social assistance recipients do not feel only material difficulties. Loss of several functions is frequently observed in such families and this is often connected with anti-social behavior of family members. Without external interference they are not able to overcome difficulties, and loss of time in turn carries considerable danger for child health and development, and can also lead to criminal consequences. Obviously, in such situations complex family support provided by professional service is necessary. Complex support and social adaptation measures should include psychological work, vocational guidance and education, public work programs and employment, provi- sion of health and social services. The implementation of a Social contract between social assistance recipients and the agencies that are authorized to provide it can be a possible form of social support. This model includes development of individual support programs a plan of action from both sides of the contract. Similar technology has been used for several decades in many countries. Recently, this practice has been introduced in the Russian Federation. And despite some shortcomings in the application experience, in general, its performance is evaluated positively as support on a qualitatively different level not only as material assistance but also as a social inclusion.
Apart from this, the procedure of determining actual need for social assistance should be improved, since right now about 18% of the total household income is not considered when eligibility for assistance is determined. This is caused both by methodological problems (for example, the difficulty of assessing income from land and agricultural activities), and the spread of shadow employment in the population. Thus, more sophisticated methods of income estimation should be applied, including indirect, as well as implementation of needs inspection for social assistance applicants, expansion and strengthening of the social inspector status.
Key words: state social assistance, targeting and effectiveness of social programs, social support, needs assessment.
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3. : www.ukrstat.gov.ua

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