Legal rights, efficiency and citizen involvement in the administration of social security cash benefits

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The Danish social security legislation has been distinguished in recent years by an intense growth in rules and regulations. Numerous laws and ordinances have been promulgated, which make it extremely difficult for both citizens and authorities to come to grips with the laws, much less to gain an overview. In order to improve efficiency in administering cash benefits and reduce cost, the Danish government has relied on the transfer of support benefits to bulk administration with the aid of Information Technology (IT). While the use of IT has enabled complicated calculations, it has given rise to a vast growth in very detailed and complex rules and thereby lack of transparency for citizens and social workers. The fact that benefits are administered with the aid of computers means that neither administrators nor politicians find the abundance of rules to be a problem, and no limits are thereby set for the accretion of new special rules. They merely have to be coded into the system. The government’s modernisation programme has been carried out at the expense of transparency and the legal rights of the citizens. This article deals with Danish legislation; the mechanisms in question are common not only to social security legislation, but also to other areas of the law which are characterised by bulk administration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Private Law
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)403-417
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • social benefits
  • social security legislation
  • transparency
  • Denmark
  • efficiency
  • legal rights
  • citizen involvement
  • administration
  • social cash benefits
  • bulk administration
  • digitised administration

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