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Minimum Standards in Old Age Security and the Problem of Poverty in Old Age

  • Jürgen Kohl

Abstract

The prevention of poverty in old age, or, more positively, the securing of a basic minimum of existence, is certainly a widely shared goal in social policy. It is, for instance, laid down in the second draft of the European Community Charter of Fundamental Social Rights (1989, No. 27): ‘Every person in retirement or early retirement shall be able to enjoy resources affording him or her a decent standard of living.’ Nobody is overtly opposed to it, but there are certainly various interpretations of its contents and scope. Above all, a fundamental ambiguity exists concerning the question whether such minimum standards should be institutionalized ‘as of right’ by standard social insurance or demogrant schemes or only by means-tested social assistance, subsidiary to other available resources. The Social Charter, as a minimalist agreement among the member states, has here opted for the second variant (1989: No. 28):

Any person who has reached retirement age but who is not entitled to a pension for whatever reason or who does not have other adequate means of subsistence shall be entitled to a minimum income, modulated or complemented by social protection and medical and social assistance specifically suited to their needs and as wide an access as possible to such assistance.

Keywords

Poverty Line Poverty Rate Social Assistance Pension Scheme Benefit Level 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© A. B. Atkinson and Martin Rein 1993

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  • Jürgen Kohl

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