Victims or Villains?: Social Security Benefits in Unemployment


This study is concerned with benefits during unemployment. Throughout the century there has been a tension between policies which see unemployed people principally as victims of economic forces beyond their control and those which see them as villains, ready to live in idleness on the benefits provided by the State. As victims, they need policies which offer adequate support for themselves and their families, so as to protect them, to a greater or lesser extent, from the consequences of unemployment. For villains, and those who might develop such tendencies if no pressure was applied, the benefit levels and the operating rules must be designed in ways which deter voluntary unemployment, induce active job search and root out fraud.

The study explores the way these questions have been dealt with during this century. It looks at the issues which should have been discussed in the 1984/85 Social Security Review, and the failure of that review to tackle them. It examines the spate of new legislation and practice introduced since the review and the current state of policy.

Read the book

1 Victims or villains?
2 The Beveridge Report and the postwar reforms
3 The short term unemployed
4 The low paid and the long term unemployed
5 Women and unemployment
6 The young unemployed
7 The older unemployed
8 The disabled unemployed
9 Social security reform, 1984-86 and after
10 Special employment measures and benefit administration
11 Which way for the future

Brown, JC (1990) Victims or Villains? Social Security Benefits in Unemployment, Policy Studies Institute

ISBN: 1872470009