DOI: 10.1177/14680181231197216 ISSN:

It will take time and resources: Changing disability benefits on the way to social model in CEE countries

Leszek Morawski, Mahmut Zeki Akarsu
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability, necessitating adjustments in tax and benefit policies. However, the eventual outcome of these modifications remains uncertain. To evaluate possible changes, we conducted a comparative analysis of current instruments in CEE countries vis-a-vis Sweden, Denmark, and Finland. Our research discovered that tax and benefit systems in both CEE and Scandinavian countries are built on the same foundational principles, yet differ significantly in their specific solutions and approaches. Notably, benefits systems in CEE countries are considerably more intricate and inclined toward means-tested benefits and specialized instruments dedicated solely to individuals with disabilities. We posit that changes arising from the convention’s implementation will streamline the benefits system, incorporating more generalized instruments with disability added as supplementary eligibility conditions or income parameters. The velocity of this transformation will be influenced by the pace of economic growth, as evidenced by the strong positive correlation between disability expenditure’s proportion in gross domestic product and the European Union countries’ level of economic development.

JEL classification D61, H51, O52

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