Social Assistance Schemes are part of social protection systems that aim poverty alleviation. Social assistance benefits are designed with the purpose of providing the poor with minimum standards of living as means to escape from poverty. Different countries have implemented different provisions regarding the amount of social assistance benefits, the eligibility criteria, as well as the types of cash and in-kind benefits provided as part of social assistance schemes. These differences have been based on the conditions and instruments each country has used to target the marginalized groups.

The development of social protection schemes in Kosovo has started in the beginning of 21st century with support and intervention of international organizations led by their priorities and interests. In the beginning, when UNMIK came in 1999 the main focus of the scheme was emergency relief; two years after the focus shifted to a social safety net where UNMIK was tasked with development of new social assistance scheme. In 2001 the MLSW and DSW established the social assistance scheme. Law on Social Assistance Scheme in Kosovo was enacted in 2003 which regulates the monthly amount of benefits for families who fulfill the eligibility criteria’s. In January 2009 decentralization of current scheme occurred and the responsibility was passed to Centers for Social Work (CSW). The Social Assistance Scheme in Kosovo is composed of three parts: last-resort income support (LRIS) scheme, war veteran benefits, and disability pensions. The LRIS component aims poverty alleviation.

In this Honors project, I analyze the effectiveness of Social Assistance Scheme in alleviating poverty in Kosovo. A major part of my analysis consists of a critical review of provisions of The Law on Social Assistance. The analysis shows that the current provisions of the Law are well targeted; however, there are issues with the coverage and with the amount of social assistance, which is considered insufficient to help the beneficiaries escape from poverty. Information obtained from interviews suggests that there are issues with the design of the scheme that create space for exclusion and at the same time end up benefiting some non-poor households which accounts for inclusion error. In the end, recommendations are provided on how to address the shortcomings of the schemes.

Publication Date


Document Type

Senior Project

Student Type



Venera Demukaj


In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for Membership in the Honors Society of RIT Kosovo


RIT Kosovo