Cyprus Mail
Cyprus

Floodgates open for GMI applications

By Elias Hazou

THOUSANDS of calls flooded the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) hotline on Thursday, the first day the government began accepting applications for welfare package.

By midday, the 22460460 hotline was already swamped, and most calls thereafter were met with the following voice message: “We are sorry. The network is busy at this time. Please try calling later.”

The call centre will be operating daily except Sundays, from 7.30am to 7.30pm, offering general information on GMI eligibility and provisions.

Trouble contacting an operator prompted the labour and social insurance ministry to release an announcement, urging people to call in the afternoons to avoid peak phone traffic in the morning hours.

GMI application forms are available at 54 post offices across the island, whereas aid recipients may obtain the forms from their local Social Welfare Services office, and must submit their application by August 11.

Recipients of low pensions must submit their application by September 8, and all other applications may be submitted at local post offices or posted to 46, Themistoclis Dervis Ave., Medcon Tower, 1066 Nicosia.

Applications are available in various colours to facilitate more effective processing: blue for Cypriot nationals, green for other EU citizens, orange for third-country (non-EU) nationals, pink for welfare recipients, and grey for low-pension recipients.

The applications are also available online, on the websites of the labour and social insurance ministry (www.mlsi.gov.cy) and the postal services (www.cypruspost.gov.cy)

The labour ministry expects a flurry of applications that could approach 100,000. To help with timely processing, the ministry has announced it will be hiring 50 people from the pool of registered unemployed with at least a high-school leaving diploma.

GMI is a government effort to overhaul social welfare by bundling all welfare benefits into a single scheme, with the simultaneous creation of a universal welfare recipient registry to help weed out duplications and abuses of the system.

Using indicative figures including the average cost of rent in Cyprus, cost of living and entertainment and others, the government has arrived at a base figure of €480, with several items added depending on family, employment and income status.

Already late in implementing due to parliamentary squabbling, the first GMI for this year is expected to be distributed in September.

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