The social assistance system – One of the ingredients of social inclusion policy
Rīga Stradiņš University, Latvia
Social assistance system is intended for persons who are not employed or have not been employed for a long period of time and do not receive the services from the national social security system or do not qualify for state social benefits, or do not generate sufficient income from work and do not provide means of subsistence for themselves or overcome particular difficulties of life and who are not receiving adequate assistance from anybody else. Socially excluded person is denied of or has difficulties to exercise their rights to obtain sufficient income, receive a range of essential services and goods, and also to defend their rights. Social exclusion means both reduced material resources, as well as inability to effectively participate in the economic, political and cultural life, loss of the feeling of belonging, which to some extent causes the sense of estrangement and alienation from the society. Thus, the emergence of poverty is not only affected by the personal lack of resources, but also the lack of availability of resources in the community. For instance, the locations of the existing social institutions whose services are required are too distant from the place of residence or poorly developed public transport network are the reasons that limit availability of the required social services. The nature of social exclusion is also related to the consistency and durability, in the sense that the longer the multitude of social problems is not addressed, the greater is the risk of social exclusion for the particular social groups. Lombardi indicates that “the objective of the social inclusion policy is to ensure the possibility to participate in social life, gain pleasure and enjoy high level of the quality of life, to each and every resident, irrespective of their social or economic grounds”1. Social inclusion, then, is the process of ensuring possibilities and resources, required to comprehensively participate in the economic, social and cultural life, ensure the prosperity and standard of living adopted in the society, as well as greater opportunities for participation in decision-making and access to fundamental human rights to the persons subjected to the risk of social exclusion and poverty.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.