• Kirstine Gellert
4. term, Social Work, Master (Master Programme)
During the 90’s, activation became part of the Danish labour market policies. A lot has changed in the activation strategy since then and the effect it has on the most vulnerable cash benefit recipients is unclear.

This thesis examines how vulnerable cash benefit recipients find, that participation in activation affects their welfare, and how they experience the casework being done at the jobcenters.

The first part of the research question is derived from an article written by Daniel Sage, describing the potential of the activation strategy to compensate for some of the nega-tive effects that being unemployed has on the wellbeing of the individual. I use the con-cept of welfare derived from a theory by Erik Allardt, as the normative ideal for a good life, when investigating the impact that the vulnerable cash benefit recipients experi-ence. The empirical basis for answering this part of the research question is a survey answered by 159 cash benefit recipients. The results from the survey are elaborated by examples from qualitative interviews with six vulnerable cash benefit recipients.

The analysis shows that activation primarily has the potential of having positive effects on the psychological need for self-realization for the vulnerable cash benefit recipients, but it can also affect their need for social interaction. However, a majority of the re-spondents to the survey do not experience this effect. The participants of internships are the ones that most often experience positive impact on their lives due to their participa-tion in activation programs. About half of the participants of this type of program expe-rience these effects.

The caseworkers in the jobcenters are responsible for planning which activation pro-grams the individual recipient is to participate in. Therefore the vulnerable recipients experiences with the casework being done at the jobcenters is also examined, primarily through six interviews with vulnerable recipients of public assistance. The analysis is structured around the coping-mechanisms that, according to Lipsky's theory of street-level bureaucracy, characterize the caseworker's way of managing the conflicting pres-sure between too few resources and citizens' demand for services.

Overall, it is the interviewees' experience that the level of service in the jobcenters is low. This is particularly due to long processing times, but among other things also be-cause they find it mentally stressful to be part of the cash benefit system in part because they feel the caseworkers treatment of them can be demeaning and imply suspicion. The analysis also show, that some of the recipients don’t feel that they are properly informed about the long term goal for their case and the part activation plays in obtaining these goals.
Publication date20 Oct 2017
ID: 263680703