Long-Term Care Policies in Italy, Austria and France: Variations in Cash-for-Care Schemes

Da Roit, B., Le Bihan, B., Österle, A.
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Social Policy & Administration

Cash benefit provisions have been at the core of many recent reforms in the long-term care sector in Europe. The respective schemes, however, vary widely in terms of the definition of entitlements, the level of benefits, and the ways in which benefits can be used by recipients. This article investigates cash-for-care schemes in three European social insurance countries. It asks whether the diversity of these schemes indicates different paths or just differences in the pace with which the respective policies address the risk of dependency. A characterization of the three schemes and a discussion of the implications for care work arrangements lead to the conclusion that the context and timing of long-term care reform processes are in fact quite variegated. All three countries have histories of cash schemes and of applying the cash approach to support – and to some extent relieve – traditionally strong family obligations. Differences predominate in terms of linking cash to employment, although some convergence is apparent in the effects on qualifications, working conditions and wages in care work.