Striking the Balance: Preserving Individuality in the Era of Highly Structured Data Collection in Automated Social Security Case Administration


  • Lena Enqvist Umeå University


This article explores the growing role of automation in the administration of social security benefits, focusing on the reliance of automated processes not only on accurate data but also on well-structured data for computational utilisation. It examines the potential impact on claimants’ ability to present their claims and identities, raising concerns about excessive standardisation that could compromise principles of good administration, including the right to be heard, a fair procedure, and the duty of care. Using Swedish examples, the article underscores the importance of balancing automated eligibility assessments with the need to allow claimants to present their cases in free text and to consider low-structured data within automated procedures. It argues for a continuous assessment of the consequences for claimants in developing digital services, emphasising the administration’s responsibility to align with underlying principles and intentions of applicable regulations. Failure to do so may lead to a dehumanised case administration lacking room for meaningful questioning or clarification.






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