Pasi Moisio: Parliamentary members of the Social Security Committee share views on social security problems

Ministry of Social Affairs and Health 20.5.2020 9.43
Column
Pasi Moisio

The Social Security Committee has started its work by mapping problems associated with social security. The Committee’s parliamentary members have been asked to provide their initial views on the main social security problems that the Committee should seek to solve. Thus, we are not trying to solve the problems yet, but to define the problems to be solved.

The Committee’s members have differing views and priorities on the key problems of social security, but also some shared views on the key themes to be discussed. Working remotely, the Committee members and permanent experts will continue the mapping and preparing of problems in May. The aim is to provide material for debate at the next Committee meeting in June.

Converging views can be observed on many problems at the general level. They have also been highlighted in public debate and in the TOIMI project on basic social security and activity. In preparing the Committee’s work, the common policy lines on the grounds and premises of the social security reform reached by the TOIMI project constitute the foundation for the start of the Committee’s work.

According to the preliminary views of the parliamentary members of the Social Security Committee, the main problems of social security concern at least the following groupings:

  • The complexity of social security and opaque bureaucracy: the wide array of benefits, concepts and criteria, as well as discrepancies and inconsistencies with the client’s life situation make it difficult to grasp, apply for and predict social security. 
  • Reconciling social security with work, entrepreneurship and changing life situations: social security is not flexible or predictable in changing work and life situations, and welfare and bureaucracy traps weaken the financial incentives to work. 
  • The role of social assistance and housing benefits in social security: social assistance has become a permanent complement to basic security and the housing benefit, while housing benefits and housing policy are disconnected and do not support each other. 
  • Separation of services from benefits: lack of employment and health and social services, mistiming and misdirection of services with regard to recipients of benefits who would need them.

At the initial stage, the social security problems to be solved will inevitably need to be dealt with at a very general level. The first task of the Committee’s divisions and experts is to help the Committee to concretise the problems to be solved — that is, to specify exactly what is causing the problem in the current social security system. This concretisation of social security problems will take months, if not years. The Committee members must reach a sufficient consensus on what is causing the problem in the current social security system so that the social security reform can proceed to the consideration of alternative solutions.

The Committee’s divisions and permanent experts play a key role in supporting the Committee’s parliamentary members when the Committee seeks consensus at all stages of the reform — from defining the problems to be resolved and building a situational picture to drawing up and implementing the roadmap of the reform.

Pasi Moisio, Chair of the Social Security Committee

The Committee includes a Members of Parliament from each parliamentary party. In addition, the Committee has permanent experts. The work of the Committee is supported by five divisions: the Division for Employment and Skills; the Division for Working Capacity and Functional Ability; the Housing Division; the Administrative Division; and the Division for Research and Evaluation.