What's Wrong with Social Security Benefits?

Paul Spicker

What's Wrong with Social Security Benefits?

Paul Spicker

Distributed for Policy Press at the University of Bristol

112 pages | 5 x 7 3/4
Paper $18.00 ISBN: 9781447337324 Published May 2017 For sale in North and South America only
In this thought-provoking book, Paul Spicker challenges us to rethink social security benefits. Focusing on the UK system, he puts forward a case for reform, arguing that most of the criticisms made of social security benefits—that spending is out of control, that it has led to mushrooming dependency, that it fails to get people into work, and that the system is riddled with fraud—are ill-conceived. Addressing these misconceptions, Spicker assesses the real problems with the system, problems that derive from its size, its complexity, the expectation that benefits agencies should know everything, and the determination to personalize benefits for millions of people. But more than this, Spicker’s stimulating introduction to social security in Britain outlines the potential for its reform.
Contents
List of tables and figures
About the author
One Understanding social security
Why pay benefits?
What circumstances are the benefits paid for?
Different types of benefit
Two Misunderstanding social security
Spending
The growth of dependency
Disincentives to work
Families where generations have never worked
Benefits for migrants
Fraud and abuse
Three The real problems
The size of the operation
The human factor
Presumptuous administration
Conditionality
Complexity
Correcting Mistakes
Selectivity
Means testing
Four How much is enough?
Cash and the private market
Income packages
How much should benefits be?
Changing benefit incomes
Providing a basic income
Five Reforming key benefits
Benefits for older people
Benefits for disability
Family benefits
Out of work
Benefits for housing
Six Changing the benefits system
Universal Basic Income
Some other ideas for reform
How to change the system of benefits: a manifesto for change
Index
 
Review Quotes
Citizen's Income Trust
"There are few people who know more about the benefits system than Spicker, and it is a pleasure to have so much of his wisdom packaged in this short and cheap paperback."
Gareth Morgan, Ferret Information Systems
"This book provides an incisive description of the real problems of the current system, what social security is for, and considers the possibilities of some alternative systems."
John Ditch, honorary professor at the University of York
“Social security may be complicated but Spicker’s critical overview is clearly written, appropriately trenchant, and thoughtfully provocative: a good read.”
Jonathan Bradshaw, University of York
"At last some sense about social security. Spicker is a brave and independent voice. But with deep knowledge. Listen to him."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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