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Social partners OK changes to material-need benefit system

The Economic and Social Council approved a draft bill on so-called material-need assistance on Monday, August 12. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Ján Richter announced that the changes tabled by his department were given the green light.

The Economic and Social Council approved a draft bill on so-called material-need assistance on Monday, August 12. Labour and Social Affairs Minister Ján Richter announced that the changes tabled by his department were given the green light.

According to the submitted and endorsed bill, the state is to pay the basic material-need allowance of €60.5 per month only to eligible adults who work at least 32 hours each month doing community service jobs or voluntary work. However, the condition is that municipalities must offer such jobs to their inhabitants. If neither parent in a family takes such a job offered by a municipality, the family will receive neither activation contributions nor the basic material-need allowance for parents. Such families, however, should continue to be eligible for a housing contribution and child allowances. The sum of social benefits paid to a four-member family in which the parents do not work would drop €156 to €36 per month.

“The elementary difference between what is valid now and what we propose for the future is the activation of beneficiaries of the basic social assistance,” explained the minister, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

The minister also said he was negotiating with Finance Minister Peter Kažimír a possible increase of the basic material-need allowance as of next year. “From the date when the law takes effect, from January 1, 2014, so that it can reflect the valorisation for 2013," Richter said, explaining the possible increase of material-need benefits, which last rose in September 2009. According to the current legislation, the government can (but is not obliged to) increase material-need assistance on each year on September 1.

(Source: SITA)
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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