Research Projects

Current projects

The project aims to promote the inclusion of people with disabilities in the primary labor market through knowledge transfer and in-house research. This includes scientific support and advice for the Forum for the Inclusive Private Sector, which was initiated by the Hessian state government's representative for people with disabilities, Ms. Rika Esser, with the aim of improving inclusion, especially in small and medium-sized enterprises. Beyond the forum, the aim is to increase the proportion of people with disabilities in the state administration. Among other things, the forum will discuss the issue of successful training transitions.

Brochure on inclusion in vocational training transitions - structural problems and political options for action

Since the last decade, employment opportunities for people with disabilities have improved. The decrease in unemployment is not solely due to demographic change, but also to new hires. Nevertheless, the unemployment rate of people with severe disabilities is still about twice as high as the general unemployment rate. In addition, there is little momentum in the development of long-term unemployment of people with severe disabilities, although long-term unemployed people with severe disabilities who receive basic benefits have overall higher formal education than basic benefit recipients without severe disabilities.In particular, employees of workshops for people with disabilities (WfbM) have so far not benefited from the improved labor market situation as a result of the shortage of skilled workers; transitions from workshops to the primary labor market are rare.

Equal opportunities for participation in the primary labor market therefore require long-term political strategies that also recognize and address the structural disadvantages of people with disabilities. In this context, it is important to focus on the inclusion of groups that have so far received little attention in the debates about the shortage of skilled workers: Special education students, especially those with a focus on learning and mental development , often leave school without a diploma. They hardly get access to dual training and are referred to extra-company training in special institutions with sometimes significantly lower chances for later employment in the primary labor market or to a workshop for disabled people.

This brochure provides insights into the structural causes of exclusion or risks of exclusion that arise at the interfaces of the transition from school to vocational training or the labor market. Basic disadvantages in the training market, which are outlined at the outset, are already established at school. A subsequent look at the still sparse data reveals how the training biographies of special needs students develop. The following section discusses key gaps between legal rights to participation and real opportunities for equal participation in the labor market. The partly exclusionary allocation processes in the transition system as well as the possibilities and implementation difficulties of inclusive instruments, such as the budget for training, are then elaborated. In connection with the conditions for successful inclusion, the fundamental question of what the standards of successful inclusion might be is also addressed. On this basis, the author provides food for thought and raises questions for political and corporate action that should stimulate further discussion.

Promoting inclusion with science, Campus News, 24.05.2022

In conflicts between the social authorities and individuals, the judges at
the social courts play a decisive role in determining and assessing the facts of the case and in applying and interpreting the law. They mediate between the existential emergencies, the realities of life, the claimants and the social administration by means of legal judgment. In a quantitative and qualitative study, the judges at the social courts, the regional social courts and the Federal Social Court will be questioned in a judge-sociological way about their social background, among other things.

An analysis of the use of procedural law, for example in the handling of abuse fees, the decision between oral hearings and court decisions, or the use of videoconferencing, can provide information about the nature of communication between the participants in social court proceedings. Finally, the analysis of court decisions and the patterns of argumentation used in them can provide clues as to how justifications draw on social ideas and models, perhaps also through stereotypes, which in turn can be located in social milieus.

The aim of the project is to improve the data and research base on German social justice by combining empirical and legal dogmatic methods and thus to focus on the tension between normativity and reality of social justice.

Project participants and contact

Prof. Dr. Felix Welti

FB 01, Humanwissenschaften

Institut für Sozialwesen

Fachgebiet Sozial- und Gesundheitsrecht, Recht der Rehabilitation und Behinderung

Tel: +49 561 804-2970


Dr. Sarah Schulz

FB 01,  Humanwissenschaften

Institut für Sozialwesen

Leitung der Nachwuchsgruppe „Die Sozialgerichtsbarkeit und die Entwicklung von Sozialrecht und Sozialpolitik in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland“

Tel: +49 561 804 2379


The Discussion Forum on Rehabilitation and Participation Law( is a platform for serving the information needs of lawyers and other stakeholders in companies and institutions, enabling the discussion of legal issues and thus contributing to the clarification of many fundamental and detailed questions of rehabilitation and participation law. To this end, the interactive component of the discussion forum is being continuously developed and is now already in its third funding phase by the BMAS. On 01.09.2021, the cooperation project ZIP-NaTAR (Accessibility - Inclusion - Participation. Sustainable participation in work through law), which focuses on the participation of people with disabilities in working life. At the project location Kassel, corresponding international aspects, the regulations on the rehabilitation procedure, interfaces and interactions between different participation services and legal areas as well as the law on the provision of services and its effects on the realization of participation goals are examined.

An essential part in this forum, besides materials and information in the Infothek, is the connection between science, jurisprudence and application of law through various (expert) discussion contributions. We are always looking for committed authors who would like to enrich our forum.

Project description: https: //

Discussion forum on rehabilitation and participation law
Flyer Discussion Forum

This is a cooperative project between the section of Theory and Empiricism of Health Care (Prof. Dr. Alfons Hollederer), the section of Social Law related to Rehabilitation and Disability Law (Prof. Dr. Felix Welti) and the International Centre for Higher Education Research (INCHER-Kassel, Dr. Shweta Mishra).

The aim of the project is to investigate the academic success of students with chronic illnesses and disabilities, using the University of Kassel as an example, and to analyze the effectiveness, in particular, of disadvantage compensation in examinations, psychosocial counseling, health promotion, disability-related social services, and students' social networks on academic success or dropout. The study uses a mixed-methods design and consists of 3 modules. Module 1 is based on a quantitative empirical research design. All approximately 25,000 students of the University of Kassel will be surveyed on health and academic success, disadvantage compensation, study-related and psychosocial counseling, health promotion and social inclusion at 2 measurement points. Module 2, based on a qualitative design, uses grounded theory for analysis and focuses on disadvantage compensation, social benefits, social networks, and influence on academic success. Module 3 provides a comprehensive research and analysis of the German and Hessian law for students with disabilities or chronic illnesses at universities and its application. The results on the legal situation are contrasted with the results from modules 1 and 2. The study integrates both quantifiable influencing factors and subjective evaluations of the students as well as their perception of social support and networks. Another distinctive feature is the interdisciplinary approach and cooperation from the fields of health sciences, higher education, rehabilitation and disability law. In the end, the findings will be used to develop suggestions for "best practices" on compensating disadvantages and social services to promote the academic success of students with disabilities and illnesses in the long term.

The section of Social Law related to Rehabilitation and Disability Law is focusing on Module 3 of the study. The work includes legal dogmatic as well as legal sociological investigations. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the German Basic Law form an important frame of reference for the research.

The project in the Department of Health Care Theory and Empiricism

Press release of the University of Kassel

Short presentation of the project

Completed projects

Since August 2020, the University of Kassel (Prof. Dr. Felix Welti) and the Halle Center for Social Research (ZSH) at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Prof. Dr. Armin Höland) have been investigating the effects of the Corona pandemic on legal protection and judicial and administrative practice in labor and social law. The empirical research project, which will run until December 2021, focuses in particular on the technical equipment of the courts and individual provisions of procedural law (Para. 128a ZPO; Para. 114 ArbGG; Para. 110a, 211 SGG) that enable video transmission during proceedings.

The research project is funded by the "Fördernetzwerk Interdisziplinäre Sozialpolitikforschung" (FIS) of the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

In addition, the project receives non-material support from the German Labor Court Association and the German Social Court Conference.

Further link

Final report of the research project

The Disability Equality Act (Behindertengleichstellungsgesetz), which came into force in May 2002, aims to eliminate and prevent discrimination against people with disabilities and to ensure their equal participation in life in society and enable them to lead a self-determined life (Para. 1 Art. 1 Sec. 1 BGG).

Already between April 1, 2013 and May 31, 2014, an initial evaluation of the BGG was carried out under the leadership of Prof. Dr. Felix Welti as part of the Federal Government's National Action Plan (NAP) for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which identified regulatory gaps as well as weaknesses in the implementation of the law. Based on the results, the BGG and related regulations were amended in 2016 (Act on the Further Development of Disability Equality Law of July 19, 2017, Federal Law Gazette I, p. 1757). Article 6 of the Act on the Further Development of Disability Equality Law stipulated a renewed evaluation of the BGG, with which the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (BMAS) has commissioned the ISG Institute for Social Research and Social Policy GmbH in cooperation with the University of Kassel, the Hugo Sinzheimer Institute for Labor and Social Law (HSI) of the Hans Böckler Foundation, and the SOKO Institute for Social Research and Communication GmbH until May 31, 2022. The goal of the evaluation is to examine whether the goals that were aimed for with the BGG and the 2016 amendment have been achieved and whether the changes have proven themselves in practice. The research design consists of a legal-dogmatic, legal-statistical as well as a legal-sociological analysis. Among other things, following on from the 2013 and 2014 surveys, associations of disabled persons and social service providers will be surveyed as addressees of the BGG. The previous surveys will be expanded so that, for example, people with disabilities themselves will also be surveyed about their perception of accessibility and the impact of the regulations of the BGG.

Report of the Federal Government on the Effects of the Amendment of the Act on the Further Development of the Act on Equal Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities



Law and Practice of Appeal Committees in Social Insurance. Inventory and Impact Analysis
(scientific assistant: Manuela Fischer, student assistant: Alexandra Weber)

Appeals committees, which are established in most of the nearly 200 social insurance institutions in Germany, decide each year on well over one million appeals by insured persons against decisions in the four major branches of statutory health insurance, long-term care insurance, pension insurance including old-age insurance for farmers, and accident insurance. The committees provided for in the law (§ 36a para. 1 no. 1 SGB IV) and created by statute have a key position in the practice of social insurance law from several points of view.The empirical research project of the Universities of Halle and Kassel, which is scheduled to run for two years, aims to approach the impact dimensions of the activity of appeal committees in social insurance with research questions tailored to them: (1) In which composition, in what way, and with what results and effects do appeal committees review legal decisions of social insurance institutions vis-à-vis their insureds for correctness, expediency, and fairness? (2) How do the committees contribute to the quality assurance of the work of the social insurance institutions through their monitoring practice? (3) In how many and in what cases do the activities of the appeals committees result in insured persons not translating their dissatisfaction with a social administrative act into a complaint to the social court? (4) To what extent do appeal committees within the framework of self-administration contribute to the realization of the idea of "social co-determination" in social insurance? The research project is funded by the Hans Böckler Foundation. A research advisory board has been set up within the foundation to provide scientific support and advice.