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This background paper focuses on one important aspect of social protection: unemployment benefits, both first tier (usually contributory) and lower tier (predominantly tax-based, non-contributory and means-tested). Unemployment benefits help to cushion the impact of job loss on household finances and act as an economic stabiliser. The paper examines trends in expenditure on unemployment benefits, identifies gaps in formal coverage, discusses groups for whom benefits are inadequate, and looks at non-take-up, rejection decisions, digitalisation of application procedures, and links between unemployment benefits and service entitlements.

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Background paper prepared by Eurofound at the request of the Belgian Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the informal EPSCO hosted by the Belgian Presidency, 10-11 January 2024

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