Social Security and Welfare Reform

Should Adult Benefit for Unemployment Now be Raised?

  • Published 20th Apr 2009
  • Authors: Peter Kenway,
  • Category: Social Security and Welfare Reform

This paper is a review of arguments for and against raising the value of Job Seeker’s Allowance (JSA).

With unemployment rising steadily for the first time since the early 1990s, the adequacy of JSA (the social security benefit paid to people who are unemployed and looking for work) is a matter of acute importance. Taking account of inflation, its value has not changed in thirty years.

The report covers three main questions:

  • What JSAisworth, andwhy – a comparison ofJSA against various measures, and a review of its progress over the 60 years of the Welfare State.
  • Why increase JSA– an examination of the case for (such as social security, anti-poverty) and against (including disincentives to work) increasing JSA.
  • Whetherthe recession alters the argument – and if so, how far it is supported by the evidence.