This paper examines the development of back-to-work support for non-employed sick and disabled people of working age in two European welfare states. Most countries have sought to improve the quantity and quality of such support in order to match the increased expectations of claimants to actively seek work. However, few studies have sought to examine the extent to which they have been able to do this and see the provision of support in a static way, whereas there is good reason to believe it is a highly changeable process, with the quality and quantity of support varying over time and place, according to a range of factors. A significant part of the period in which this has been a policy aim has been characterised by economic crisis and subsequent austerity, conditions which existing theory and evidence suggest could pose a challenge to improving such support. Thus, drawing on findings from a broader study of the development of active labour market policy for sick and disabled people, a cross-nationally comparative analysis of these developments in the UK and Denmark is pursued, looking at the extent the welfare settlement between welfare authorities and sick and disabled claimants has been reconfigured in recent years and at the extent to which this can be attributed to recession and austerity.
- social policy
- active labour market policy