One-off childcare benefit payments of 500 euros approved

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The Latvian cabinet on February 16 agreed to push forward with a plan to grant special payments of 500 euros per child to families in order to help them through the Covid-19 crisis.

Tuesday's government meeting approved a 182-million-euro plan to allocate 500 euros per child, with 364,097 children eligible under the scheme. This one-off financial support will be covered by the contingency budget program and paid by the State Social Insurance Agency (SSIA) automatically - with no application necessary by parents or guardians and taxes and deductions not applicable. 

Suggestions from some quarters that payments should be means-tested were rejected in favor of a blanket scheme. Children born before the end of the current state of emergency on April 6 will also get a 500 euro welcome to the world.  Payments will be made for all children up to the age of 15 plus those  aged 15 to 20 still in education.

Minister of Welfare Ramona Petraviča said the support was "unprecedented"

"For some, this money will allow them to buy a computer for distance learning, others will spend it on clothing, household items or everyday necessities. In talks with the coalition partners, I will also try to gain support for my proposal for financial support of 200 euros for seniors and people with special needs,” Petraviča said.

However, the aid measures must also be supported by the Saeima, though this is likely to happen within days and is unlikely to meet much opposition in debate.

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