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Kleinhoefstraat 4, 2440 Geel +32 (0)14 56 23 10 The use of reference budgets in local social welfare offices Bérénice storms.

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Presentation on theme: "Kleinhoefstraat 4, 2440 Geel +32 (0)14 56 23 10 The use of reference budgets in local social welfare offices Bérénice storms."— Presentation transcript:

1 Kleinhoefstraat 4, 2440 Geel +32 (0) The use of reference budgets in local social welfare offices Bérénice storms Research coordinator Cebud

2 Cebud Multidisciplinair centre for budget research and budget advice(cebud) at Thomas More 2 Reference budgets

3 Content WHAT are reference budgets? WHY we need reference budgets? HOW can reference budgets be used in local social welfare offices? REMI, a social innovative tool to empower vulnerable families 3 Reference budgets

4 What are reference budgets? Reference budgets are priced baskets of goods and services, representing a socially acceptable standard of living

5 Why we need reference budgets? 5 Reference budgets Reference budgets can be/are used for: 1. Contextualizing poverty lines; 2. Measuring the adequacy of minimum incomes; 3. Determining supplementary income support, settling income maintenance, debt rescheduling; 4. Financial education/debt prevention; 5. Encouraging politicians to work towards a socially inclusive society 6. …

6 HOW can reference budgets be used in local social welfare offices? 6 Reference budgets Request from local Social Welfare Offices (SWO) to develop reference budgets Core mission SWO: set up actions that empower vulnerable people, so that they are able to live a decent life Instruments SWO: Material support (e.g. food vouchers, ( transit) housing, vouchers for social and cultural activities) Immaterial support (e.g. psychosocial counseling, legal advice and assistance, job-seeking) Financial support (social assistance + additional income support)

7 HOW can reference budgets be used in local social welfare offices? 7 Reference budgets SWO mission: Material support Immaterial support Financial support Social assistance income Eligibility criteria, level of support, criteria for means testing are regulated at a national level Additional income support Eligibility criteria, level of support, criteria for means testing are regulated at the local level No norm or criterion to objectify what a decent income should entail Result: big differences between SWO’s and within SWO’s in the amount of supplementary financial support for clients with the same living conditions Request for the development of reference budgets that can be used as a benchmark to evaluate the income situation of clients in the light of human dignity

8 HOW can reference budgets be used in local social welfare offices? 8 Reference budgets Key choices for the development of reference budgets: Standardization of targeted living standard: Minimum resources required for adequate social participation Standardization of target population: Children and persons at active age in good health, without disabilities, and with normal competences, living in an urban environment Standardization of model families: Single (woman, man - active age) Couple (male and female - active age) Single woman (active age) + 1 and 2 child (2, 4, 6 & 15 years old) Couple (male and female - active age) + 1 and 2 children (2, 4, 6 & 15 years old) Standardization of geographical scope: Flanders (city, country side accessible by public transport) All long-term RBs: access to a targeted living standard for an undetermined period of time

9 HOW can reference budgets be used in local social welfare offices? Question: how can standardized reference budgets be adapted for personal living circumstances of people? Answer: REMI -Online web application with RBs adapted for personal situation of client (it compares necessary costs (medical costs, housing costs, school costs in secondary and higher education, …) with family income) -Developed together with user group -Provides insight into which efforts should be delivered by clients and SWO to enable a decent life -Systematic and well structured gathering of income components and necessary expenses give more transparency

10 REMI output Menswaardig leven in Vlaanderen 10

11 REMI Output Overview of an adequate personalized family budget, grouped into: –Fixed costs –Living costs –Reservation expenses Provides politicians of SWO board an insight into the necessary efforts to ensure clients a dignified income Reference budgets 11

12 Thank you for your attention ! More info: Reference budgets 12


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