Take-Up of Social Rights and Social Services for Citizens – Structuring a Concept and Working Principles

Social rights are an essential element in the concept of citizenship in a welfare state, and are intended to meet two main goals: The first, to ensure that every person is provided with the basic needs that allow for a minimum standard of living; the second to promote equal opportunities by bolstering individuals’ ability to integrate into higher education and employment.

Non-take-up of rights is a situation in which individuals who are eligible for benefits and social services do not take advantage of their eligibility. This is a widespread social problem that affects many citizens who do not enjoy benefits and social services that could have enhanced their personal and economic status. Furthermore, it reflects a failure of the social policy that determined their eligibility for these benefits and services. Consequently, policymakers, researchers, professionals, and organizations are focusing on the issue in an attempt to understand its causes and reduce its prevalence. In 2019, the Ministry of Labor, Social Affairs and Social Services (MOLSA) set up a unit to address the issue – the Benefit Utilization Unit. In the framework of this important step and as a preliminary stage in the development of ministry policy and working principles and the creation of solutions for the take-up of right, the Division for Community Resources and JDC-Ashalim commissioned the Outcomes Team at the Myers-JDC-Brookdale Institute to collect up-to-date information and knowledge about the take-up of legal rights and about the utilization of services.

This report reviews theoretical and research aspects of the non-take-up of rights, as well as aspects that may help MOLSA to formulate policy that is in keeping with current trends in this area, such as taking up rights by digital means and the incorporation of volunteers in centers for the take-up of rights. The report also surveys MOLSA’s main services in this area and presents the logic model that lays the foundation for formulating a work plan and ministry policy on the issue of take-up of rights.