How does generalized political trust affect policy demand in changing welfare states? We simultaneously consider two possible effects. First, trust may buttress normative support, as measured by well-known items on general support for redistribution and ‘government responsibility’ in specific areas. Secondly, political trust may ease concrete reform acceptance in the context of fiscal pressure. This proposition becomes increasingly relevant as welfare states change in ways not directly addressed by traditional survey measures. We develop hypotheses about how different dimensions of normative support and reform acceptance may be unequally affected by political trust. We analyse primary three-wave panel data in a field dominated by cross-sectional analysis. The data offer standard measures of trust and support, and a new multidimensional question battery tapping reform acceptance. We find cross-sectional and longitudinal support for hypotheses predicting that political trust buttresses normative support for horizontally redistributive policies (but as hypothesized not for ‘life-course’ policies). In contrast, there is quite some cross-sectional but little longitudinal support for effects on reform acceptance. Possible exceptions involve some of the more contentious reform types and, in particular, reforms that raise user fees and taxation.