System of benefits in Ukraine too complicated

This was the general result of a survey carried out in Lviv to ascertain how people assessed the system of benefits and privileges in Ukraine, how well-informed they were of their rights with regard to specific benefits, and whether they would prefer targeted financial assistance to the present system.

At present the system of benefits is extremely broad with 1.1 million Ukrainians receiving one or more of the 136 types of social payments, supplementary payments and subsidies. Obviously any system needs to be effective, ensuring that those needing the benefits are not obstructed through, for example, legislative problems, from getting them, and that they are not merely symbolic. In fact, however, there are also many categories of citizens who get benefits that, in comparison, with others they don’t really need.

One type of reform presently under discussion is introducing targeted financial assistance. A government commission has been created to make proposals regarding moving over to such a system.

The survey in Lviv was a civic initiative undertaken by the Centre for Civic Advocacy in Lviv and the Centre for Public Assessment in Kyiv, with support from the International Renaissance Foundation. 130 people were interviewed during December 2008 and January 2009.
70% of the respondents felt that the present system is too complicated, spread-out and that it lacks socially- and economically- justified order. Other problems identified were:

Lack of awareness of benefits they were entitled to (62%)
46% did not feel the benefits have a major impact on improving their standard of living, and 31% saw no positive benefit at all.
32% would be in favour of targeted financial assistance, while 29% felt that they did not have enough information to have a fixed opinion.
The main arguments presented against a change to targeted financial assistance were:
distrust of the State and lack of confidence in its ability to ensure payments;
doubts as to whether the change was fair and warranted;
economic instability and the falling value of money and rise in prices
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