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← Overview Database of Innovative Social Policies in Europe

Contraction of unemployment assistance for individuals considered "able to work"

Country of implementation
General short description of the innovation
Restrictive changes were implemented in non-contributory unemployment assistance (UA). Recipients of the old UA were divided into two groups: those considered able to work, and those too frail to work. For the latter group, the benefit amount was kept the same and the work test was removed. For the former group, the benefit amount was flattened (a reduction of 60% at the benefit ceiling) and the work test extended to 90 days of public works a year paid at least at the minimum wage. Job seekers aged over 55 were automatically put in the ”frail” category. Due to a further restriction, only one long-term unemployed person per family may receive UA. The cut of the unemployment assistance (UA) benefit amount widened the gap between unemployment insurance and unemployment assistance recipients. The two groups converged however in terms of job search requirements and also in benefit administration as UA recipients are now served by the PES instead of the municipalities (public works remained their responsibility).
Target group
Total Population
Policy Field
  • employment
Type of Policy
  • public
Duration of the policy
Starting date: Jan 2010
Scope of innovation
  • Scope: structural
  • Budgets: cannot be interpreted in this context
  • Number of intended beneficiaries: The entire working age population
  • Spatial coverage: national
General description of (intended) objectives and strategies
In Hungary the decision about reducing unemployment benefit was driven by fiscal pressures and has been part of the actual government populist demagogy regarding society based on workŒ concept. The measure manifested the rising resentment against the (idle) poor.
Nature of the innovation-long-term perspective
long term structural austerity measure
Type of ideal-typical strategy for the innovation
  • typical strategy for the innovation (optional; according to Obinger)-liberalisation
Type of innovation
  • new policy, practice or measure
  • retrenchment or expansion of an existing/earlier policy
New outputs
  • benefit level
Clarification of intended mechanisms, outputs and outcomes (optional)
Austerity measure aiming to reduce social expenses and serving the society false emotional needs by blaming the victims (the long term unemployed).
Intended target group
Working age population
  • employment situation (please specify: e.g. typical work/atypical/unemployed) (unemployed)
Employers-private institutional actors
not involved
Actors involved in policy-making/implementation and/or evaluation
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-agency or national social insurance body
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-beneficiaries/users
  • making/implementation and/or evaluation-central state
Intended output
  • benefit eligibility
  • benefit level
Intended and unintended outcomes
approximately 500 thousands unemployed people
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