NEWS IN SHORT

Fewer poor receiving social benefits

SLOVAKIA pays out less to the unemployed and poor than last year. But this does not mean that the number of needy has decreased, the Pravda daily wrote.

SLOVAKIA pays out less to the unemployed and poor than last year. But this does not mean that the number of needy has decreased, the Pravda daily wrote.

This drop is only the result of an increase in pensions last July, after which time many people lost the right to receive social benefits.

"Several people's benefits were taken away," spokesperson for the National Labour, Social Affairs, and Family Office Danica Lehocká told the daily.

While 211,000 people received benefits in January 2007, only 182,000 did so in December. The number of receivers of housing, protection and activation benefits decreased similarly. Therefore, after one year of the Robert Fico government, the number of people receiving these social benefits returned to the level at which they were prior to the general elections.

Some pensioners, whose pensions grew in July, now have less money than before. When their pensions exceeded the subsistence level by at least one crown, they lost support exceeding Sk1,500.

The state also paid less money in activation works for the unemployed. The number of this benefit's recipients decreased by 15,000. However, according to the office, the interest of the job seekers in activation works is not decreasing. As many as 85,000 jobless people used them in December.

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