Porverty research
The effects of reducing the social allowance in rural Hungary- Interdisciplinary documentation. 2012.

The monthly amount of the social allowance granted to working age unemployed persons and their families called employment substitute support (FHT) dropped by 20% as from 1 January 2012 the stated purpose being ‘motivation to work’. Even the eligibility criteria of the allowance – going from 28,500 to 22,800 HUF i.e. from approx. 100 EUR to 80 EUR – became stricter. An especially critical circumstance was the radical change of the terms of completing a minimum period of employment of 30 days per year, which was required for eligibility.

Practically the only access that long-term unemployed inhabitants of small rural communities had to perform was 30 days of employment per year was public work. Unlike in earlier periods, from 2012 onward neither the local government nor the Public Employment Service are under obligations to provide public work opportunities. Instead, the responsibility was shifted to the aid recipient during times when local opportunities shrank, and the arrangement in which it was offered by the government greatly transformed. Not only was the granting of the allowance subject to performing public work, but the reverse was also true. That is because under the Public Employment Act, the unemployed person’s eligibility to even 22,800 HUF ceases as soon as he/she declines a job - including public work – offered to him/her.

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