While many governments provide social and financial support to citizens with low incomes, care needs, housing issues and other problems, far too often those rights do not reach the persons that need them the most. This so-called ‘non-take-up’ of social rights points to the failure of our social protection system and to the shortcomings of the policies aimed at supporting people in vulnerable situations.
In a recently published policy advice, the Flemish Council of the Elderly demands attention for the phenomenon of non-take-up of social rights among older people. The paper outlines the various barriers older people face in accessing social rights and support, highlights the overall policy challenges to address these, and finally suggests a number of specific measures to strengthen the take-up and effectiveness of important social rights for older people (at federal, regional and local level).
Some of the main reasons pointed out by the Flemish Council paper for the non-take-up of social rights by older people are the following:
- Lack of clear, adequate and accessible information,
- Complexity and lack of adequate guidance,
- Barriers in terms of mobility and accessibility,
- People not requesting for information or support.
To overcome those barriers, the Flemish Council suggests a number of actions including:
- automatic entitlement,
- proactive detection and information,
- quality and appropriate guidance and support,
- development of monitoring, research and knowledge sharing on the issue of non-take up of social rights,
- constructive dialogue with older people and their organisations.
The policy paper further recommends measures broken down by national, regional and local levels.
You can read the full policy advice (written in Dutch) here