The provision of services in the contractual welfare state is conditional. If one wants to receive a service, one has to comply with the demands of the provider. If one fails to do so, the organisation threatens to terminate its services, and indeed often does so. There are, however, people who breach their contracts time after time, falling back into the same dire situation that prompted them to ask for help in the first place. Social workers must then visit these people to help them re-enter the contract. This article draws on an in-depth analysis of such ‘behind the front door’ policies, focussing on single mothers on welfare. It argues that for many single mothers on welfare, social security fails to provide emotional and relational security, which undermines their ability to fulfil the terms of the contract. So long as the welfare state is based on the idea of (material) social security, ‘behind the front door’ workers remain urgently needed.