Social security system has too many holes

Cooperation between social security services should be improved, experts said. Keystone

New research has shown that the Swiss social security system does not do enough for the long-term unemployed and people living under the breadline.

This content was published on March 10, 2005

The authors of a national study say that increased cooperation among welfare agencies and more funding for counselling are needed.

The research, funded by the National Science Foundation, concluded that the longer somebody has been out of a job, the more difficult they will find it to get work.

It particularly highlighted that women and young people with little or no qualifications are struggling to find their place on the job market.

The current social insurance system, including unemployment offices, does not provide sufficient assistance, the authors said in Bern on Thursday.

They pointed out that the programmes were not focusing enough on the needs of those affected, because they failed to help them sharpen their professional skills.

The researchers called for greater efforts to adapt and coordinate social services. They also recommended increased funding for counselling.

Children and disabled

The authors said it was also crucial to ensure that people with a disability do not drop out of the labour market.

The researchers found that one in five of the 465,000 people who receive state disability benefits in Switzerland lives in isolation and has financial difficulties.

They also urged the authorities to introduce measures to lessen families’ financial burden by reducing taxes, increasing child benefit and improving childcare.

They added that the wealthy drew bigger benefits from the current tax system.

"In relation to their income, people who live on or near the breadline contribute as much towards social equality as the wealthy," they said.

Parliament is debating measures to overhaul the debt-ridden invalidity scheme amid allegations of abuses of the welfare system.

swissinfo with agencies

In brief

The research programme, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation has called for better coordination and more funds to help the needy.

The study reviewed the unemployment, social welfare, invalidity and healthcare schemes.

The four-year programme included 35 different projects and cost SFr10 million ($8.7 million).

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