a1 Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam Kloveniersburgwal 48, 1012 CX Amsterdam, The Netherlands email: firstname.lastname@example.org
a2 Centre for Social Policy Studies, City of Rotterdam. email: email@example.com
European welfare states are cutting back their responsibilities for long-term care, emphasising ‘self-reliance’ and replacing care as an entitlement of citizenship with targeted services. But we do not know how former long-term care recipients cope with retrenchment and if they are able to negotiate support from their family and friends. Through an analysis of 500 telephone interviews and thirty face-to-face interviews with long-term care recipients facing reduced care rights in the Netherlands, we found that disabled and elderly persons resist increased dependence on their personal networks. Most clients who face reduced access to public long-term care do not seek alternative help despite their perceived need for it, and feel trapped between the policy definition of self-reliance and their own ideals of autonomy.