Childbirth benefit vastly different among Latvia's municipalities

The one-off allowance for the birth of a child varies in Latvian municipalities – the difference is even several hundred euros. Some parents admit that the system of benefits in municipalities is one of the criteria for declaring and choosing their place of residence, Zemgale regional television reported November 23.

For example, in Rēzekne, if both parents are declared in this municipality, EUR 720 is granted, while in Jelgava and Ogre municipalities – only EUR 100.

Grieta lives in Jelgava and admits that the small allowance is the reason why she and her husband have declared themselves in Rīga. “We live in Jelgava, but I am, I can honestly say, declared in Riga, only in order to have more benefit, because previously, still this year, we lived in Rīga,” Grieta revealed.

“Child benefit is one of the reasons why we have been declared in Riga. The second thing is the kindergarten queue,“ added Rihards, who has declared himself in Rīga but lives in Jelgava.

Some other parents living in Jelgava think similarly.

The municipality of Jelgava believes that the benefit is appropriate because in this region more is paid for the next children. “We have 500 euros more than a child if there is more than one child,” added Madars Lasmanis (Development of Latvia), chairman of Jelgava municipality Council.

To pay more, there must be an initiative from parents and various organizations, but there is none, so no additional finances are planned in next year's budget, Lasmanis added.

Meanwhile, the Ogre municipality replied in writing that benefits are not the most important issue for residents of their area.

According to the parent organization, the €100 allowance is confusingly small, but the amount of one-off benefits is certainly not why families will choose to create offspring. However, this can also have a significant impact on the choice of residence for new families.

“If it is decided to change residence and [the person] faces a choice between two or more local governments, then yes, parents evaluate how the family is supported there,” said Inga Akmentiņa-Smildziņa, head of “”

The laws and regulations provide that local governments shall determine the amount of one-off benefits themselves. The 100 euro benefit is currently granted by two local authorities – Jelgava and Ogre. Other municipalities have an average of €200-300 per child, but there are different conditions where there is a requirement to declare to parents, and there is also a different vision for second and third-child benefits.

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