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A policy for the provision of social assistance or services which determines access by considering whether the applicant has the means to provide the service from their own resources. Legal aid in most provinces, for example, is means tested; legal aid is provided without charge to those unable to pay while others pay part or all of the cost of the service. A policy of universality is opposed to this and is one in which all citizen have a right to assistance or service without charge. In the past, for example, the ‘baby bonus’ was offered to all mothers of children. Similarly, health care is now offered to all citizens without charge regardless of their income. There is a growing tendency towards means tests, however. Old age income support is now ‘clawed back’ from seniors with incomes over a certain amount, for example, and in the future will only be given to those with income below a set amount. See: UNIVERSALITY / .

Last updated 2002--0-9-

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Athabaca University ICAAP

© Robert Drislane, Ph.D. and Gary Parkinson, Ph.D.
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*This social science dictionary has 1000
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