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Kontanthjælp reform: The central points

The new kontanthjælp reform is heavily geared towards encouraging young people to contribute by embracing an education or a job

The government is hoping that the new kontanthjælp reform will push more young people towards an education and reduce the number of people on unemployment benefits (Photo: Scanpix)

April 19, 2013

by Christian Wenande

The government agreed to a reform of the least-generous cash welfare benefit, kontanthjælp, yesterday. Here are the central points:

  • Education aid to people under the age of 30 who do not have an education

Kontanthjælp will be removed and replaced with education aid (uddannelseshjælp) to all younger people under the age of 30 who do not have an education. The uddannelseshjælp benefit amount will be comparable to the student stipend SU.

  • Initiative for vulnerable youths

Young people, who are deemed not ready to start an education, will after three months be entitled to an 'activity initiative' (aktivitetstillæg) if they actively take part in offers that can bring them closer to beginning an education. Most vulnerable young people will be able to acquire the initiative right away.

  • All youths without an education receive an education prompt

All young people under the age of 30 without an education will receive an 'education prompt' (uddannelsespålæg). Young people who are able to begin an education must start one as quickly as possible. Young people must, as much as possible, work for their benefits and sustain themselves financially before their education programme begins. Alternatively, they must work for their benefits via a 'usefulness initiative' (nytteindsats). Uddannelsespålægget means that young people who do not have the ability to start an education will take part in a programme aimed at preparing them to receive an education.

  • Special right to education aid for young, single providers

Single providers and young mothers receive special aid and financial assistance in order to obtain an education.

  • Demands for an intensive job search during the first three months

People over 30 who are able to work must find employment and will be met with clear demands and expectations in order to continue to receive their benefits. The same goes for young people with an education. The first three months in which an individual receives kontanthjælp will focus on intensive job searching and include follow-ups from the job centres. Councils must hold meetings, geared towards supporting the job search, with the individual during these three months.

  • Demands to work for kontanthjælp

After three months, at the latest, people who are able to work will be met with demands that they work for their kontanthjælp, for instance as part of a nytteindsats for up to 13 weeks at a time. The nytteindsats means that councils will force individuals to take jobs at council-run workplaces. 

  • An effective sanctions system

People who are able to work will be sanctioned if they fail to live up to the job-search demands. If a person continuously fails to live up to the demands imposed by their job centre, the kontanthjælp recipient can face increased demands. At the same time, the sanctions system must take into account that people with complex problems are not always able to live up to demands asked of them.

  • Cohabiting couples, both over the age of 25, receive mutual provider duties

Cohabiting couples, who are both over the age of 25, receive mutual provider duties (forsørgerpligten) so that the kontanthjælp system properly reflects modern relations and family patterns. Today, forsørgerpligten only counts if you are married.

  • Holistic efforts dedicated to people with complex problems

Kontanthjælp recipients with complex problems must, within a maximum of six months, have a holistic,  job-geared plan. The plan must reflect the individual’s needs and cater to his/her social or health issues. The individual will have a right to a case worker who will work with them on the plan.

  • A plan for the vulnerable

Particularly vulnerable individuals receiving kontanthjælp who are unable to take part in job-geared efforts have the right to a mentor who will help them with their social, mental or physical problems so that they can, with time, take part in job-geared efforts.

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