The Icelandic system of social benefits is a myriad of different systems that don’t always work together, but when they do, it seems to rather work to benefit the system itself, but not the claimant. This results in groups of people falling through gaps in the system (those who fall short of qualifying in all systems) or in overlapping rights that are interdependently affected, leaving the claimant in a poverty trap.
Poverty Watch Main Findings
Most affected groups
Low income families
People dealing with drug addiction
People with disabilities
Children from low income families
- Make sure that nobody is denied treatment, testing or examination by health service providers because they cannot pay.
- There needs to be special support for children and young adults from poor households to enter and stay in education.
- There needs to be an information center on social rights that guides people through the myriad of the social welfare system in Iceland.
- It is a matter of urgency to make mental health services available to all and make a system for trauma counseling being present and available in all types of services.
- A guaranteed minimum income needs to be put in place as a national standard (a specified minimum amount) and accessible to anyone without an income.
- Education should be free and registration fees negotiable if they are necessary at all.
- Anxiety is often a big factor in the lives of PeP, especially those who have also grown up poor or have a long history of everyday struggle with poverty and even trauma. This has to be taken into account when providing services and measures taken to make sure there is personalized care and connection in addition to practical help.
- Drug rehabilitation needs to be taken seriously with zero waiting times to
detox and counseling made accessible to both patients and their families.
- Social services need to be more solution-based and support the individual to self help at their own pace.
- Stop all charging of services for school children.
Mrs. Vilborg Oddsdóttir Social Worker
Head of Icelandic Church Aid Domestic Department
Tel: +354 528 4403 / +354 823 2321
E-mail: vilborg (@) help.is