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Dealing with Poverty: Change and Continuity in Argentine Social Policies
Unformatted Document Text:  policy response to the crisis of 2001-2002 and “entailed a reorientation of social programs away from in-kind benefits, namely foodstuff, and towards monetary transfers which become the principal tool to address poverty” (Garay, 2007; 314) 11 . Contrarily to its predecessor, the Plan Trabajar (1996-2002), the PJyJH was established as a “social right” available for the entire eligible population 12 (unemployed and informal workers with children under the age of 18 years) and benefits ceased to be temporary as long as beneficiaries remain eligible, that is, until one member of the household obtains a formal-sector job. These changes in the design of the policy involved a huge expansion of the coverage, which in April 2003 rose to 2 million beneficiaries. However, in 2004, the government began to design some modifications of income social policies that were finally implemented in 2006 13 . The first modification was a reform of the PJyJH consisting of the redistribution of beneficiaries into two other programs: on the one hand, the aforementioned program “Families for Social Inclusion”, oriented to beneficiaries with difficulties of employability and family vulnerability; on the other hand, the Training and Employment Insurance (Seguro de Capacitación y Empleo- SCE), oriented to beneficiaries with less difficulties in finding a job and carried out by the National Ministry of Labor and Social Security. This restructuring was organized through voluntary transfers from PJyJH to the other two programs, what in fact resulted in the coexistence of the three 14 . Another innovation within workfare programs is the inclusion of socio-economic promotion components in the PJyJH -such as financial and technical support to associative micro- enterprises carried out by beneficiaries 15 . However, in spite of the massive scope of workfare 11 Candelaria Garay (2007) shows how the Plan Trabajar was crucial in the development of the unemployed movement, by providing them with a financial resource that solved the “problem of collective action”. In a second moment, however, the relation between social policy and this movement reversed. According with Garay, the PJyJH represents a change in social policy orientation due to previous collective action. On this argument see also Pereyra (2006). 12 This feature was limited because the government established a deadline, May 2002, to apply to the program. 13 For a more detailed description of the restructuring of income social policies see Filc (2007). 14 The difference of the program“Families for Social Inclusion” with respect to the PJyJH is that the amount of money received varied according to the quantity of children and that the beneficiaries do not have to fulfill labour requirements but health and education responsibilities to their children. The Training and Employment Insurance, on the other hand, grants a similar amount of money and requires the participation of beneficiaries in training activities. 15 The number of beneficiaries of workfare programs has been decreasing since 2003. By June 2007, its coverage has been reduced to almost a half of the initial number. Information available on-line: www.trabajo.gov.ar , Boletín Estadístico. Consult: December 2007.

Authors: Perelmiter, Luisina.
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policy response to the crisis of 2001-2002 and “entailed a reorientation of social programs
away from in-kind benefits, namely foodstuff, and towards monetary transfers which become
the principal tool to address poverty” (Garay, 2007; 314)
. Contrarily to its predecessor, the
Plan Trabajar (1996-2002), the PJyJH was established as a “social right” available for the
entire eligible population
(unemployed and informal workers with children under the age of
18 years) and benefits ceased to be temporary as long as beneficiaries remain eligible, that is,
until one member of the household obtains a formal-sector job. These changes in the design of
the policy involved a huge expansion of the coverage, which in April 2003 rose to 2 million
beneficiaries.
However, in 2004, the government began to design some modifications of income social
policies that were finally implemented in 2006
. The first modification was a reform of the
PJyJH consisting of the redistribution of beneficiaries into two other programs: on the one
hand, the aforementioned program “Families for Social Inclusion”, oriented to beneficiaries
with difficulties of employability and family vulnerability; on the other hand, the Training and
Employment Insurance (Seguro de Capacitación y Empleo- SCE), oriented to beneficiaries
with less difficulties in finding a job and carried out by the National Ministry of Labor and
Social Security. This restructuring was organized through voluntary transfers from PJyJH to
the other two programs, what in fact resulted in the coexistence of the three
Another
innovation within workfare programs is the inclusion of socio-economic promotion
components in the PJyJH -such as financial and technical support to associative micro-
enterprises carried out by beneficiaries
. However, in spite of the massive scope of workfare
11
Candelaria Garay (2007) shows how the Plan Trabajar was crucial in the development of the unemployed
movement, by providing them with a financial resource that solved the “problem of collective action”. In a
second moment, however, the relation between social policy and this movement reversed. According with Garay,
the PJyJH represents a change in social policy orientation due to previous collective action. On this argument see
also Pereyra (2006).
12
This feature was limited because the government established a deadline, May 2002, to apply to the program.
13
For a more detailed description of the restructuring of income social policies see Filc (2007).
14
The difference of the program“Families for Social Inclusion” with respect to the PJyJH is that the amount of
money received varied according to the quantity of children and that the beneficiaries do not have to fulfill labour
requirements but health and education responsibilities to their children. The Training and Employment Insurance,
on the other hand, grants a similar amount of money and requires the participation of beneficiaries in training
activities.
15
The number of beneficiaries of workfare programs has been decreasing since 2003. By June 2007, its coverage
has been reduced to almost a half of the initial number. Information available on-line:
,
Boletín Estadístico. Consult: December 2007.


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