The Take-up of Social Assistance: A Survey in a Southern Taiwan City

Social assistance in considered a residual system of welfare. However, it is the last resort of many disadvantaged. Therefore, it is important to maximize the likelihood of benefit delivering to those who are in financial difficulties. One of the vital points to achieve this goal is to promote the talk-up of benefits. Despite the importance of take-up in social assistance, it is rarely studied in Taiwan.

This paper draws the data from a large-scale survey conducted in Tainan, a southern Taiwan city, to explore the take-up of social assistance. The survey was conducted in 2010, and 754 low-income households were successfully interviewed. The results show that low-income people get the information about benefits from different sources. People in different low-income categories and living in different districts receive information from different sources. In addition, people living in different districts have different levels of likelihood of receiving help in the application process. These imply the impact of social capital and administrative factors on take-up. This study also finds a widespread worry among the applicants about the complexity of the application process. This paper concludes by addressing the importance of providing information and assistance to low-income people in application process to improve the take-up of social assistance.