Falling through the social safety net? Analysing non-take-up of minimum income benefit and monetary social assistance in Austria

Publication type

Journal Article


Publication date

September 15, 2020


Non‐take‐up of means tested benefits is a widespread phenomenon in European welfare states. The paper assesses whether the reform that replaced the monetary social assistance benefit by the minimum income benefit in Austria in 2010/11 has succeeded in increasing take up rates. We use EU‐SILC register data together with the tax‐benefit microsimulation model EUROMOD/SORESI. The results show that the reform led to a significant decrease of non‐take‐up from 53 to 30% in terms of the number of households and from 51 to 30% in terms of expenditure. Following the three‐t's (threshold, trigger, and trade‐off) introduced by Van Oorschot, estimates of a two‐stage Heckman selection model as well as expert interviews indicate that the taken measures include both threshold and trade‐off characteristics. Elements such as the higher degree of anonymity within the claiming process, the provision of health insurance, binding minimum standards, the limitation of the maintenance obligations, new regulations related to the liquidation of wealth, as well as the general coverage of the benefit reform in the media and in public discussions led to an improved access to the benefit.

Published in

Social Policy & Administration

Volume and page numbers

Volume: 54 , p.827 -843







Open Access

© 2020 The Authors. Social Policy & Administration published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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