Welfare Ministry asks for additional benefit funds

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The Latvian Welfare Ministry said in a media statement on July 10 that in 2021 the welfare sector would need an additional €90 million for compensation measures.

The Welfare Ministry's proposals for 18 sectoral priority measures have been submitted to the Ministry of Finance and the Cross-Sectoral Coordination Center.

The Minister for Welfare, Ramona Petraviča (“KPV LV”), admits that the budget negotiations will be difficult because the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly affected the public's financial capacity.

Assistant Services

The list of priority measures includes a request for additional funding for changes to the assistant service for disabled persons. An assistant service funded by the State budget was introduced in 2013 to help get to the workplace, educational institution or place of service, as well as to help family members of persons with disabilities and to encourage their involvement in the labor market.

However, it is concluded that the assistant service is not satisfactory and that changes are needed.

LM offers the government five options for service changes. One of these aims to significantly change and extend the service to disabled children (by defining the services of the guide and assistant) and at the same time to change the procedures for granting the service.

This requires a total of €23.3 million in 2021.

Support for pensioners

Around €9 million is planned to support pensioners. With a view to increasing pensions and contributing to reducing the risk of poverty for more than 400 000 pension beneficiaries, from 2021, the Ministry offers a provision of grants for age and disability pensions between 2012 and 2036.

The proposals also aim at raising the non-taxable minimum income for pensions to €4200 per year, or €350 per month instead of the current €300.

Child support

Welfare Ministry also offers families with dependent children support of €50 per child. The overall impact of the new benefit on the government budget for 2021 is projected to exceed €30 million.

It is also planned to clarify the conditions for obtaining the family benefits for families with a disabled child who, because of their state of health, cannot continue schooling after reaching 15 years of age. At the moment, these children do not receive state benefits if they do not continue schooling.

Accessibility of services

Nearly €15 million is aimed at improving the accessibility and quality of various social services and the environment for receiving services, such as social rehabilitation services for people with hearing and vision impairments, children affected by illegal actions, victims of human trafficking and violence, long-term social care, quality of service.

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