By Constantinos Psillides
AROUND 67,000 applications regarding the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) have been filed up to now, of which 17,000 come from people who had never previously qualified for state aid, the Labour Minister Zeta Emilianidou said on Monday.
Following a visit by MPs from the House labour committee, Emilianidou stressed that the government works toward social reform through the GMI, aiming at reducing poverty.
GMI was introduced this year, replacing the previous system of public assistance allowance.
Emilianidou said that by mid-November the ministry will be able to send out all payments to those who meet the criteria for receiving aid.
“Working though all these applications is a daunting task but we estimate that by mid-November we will be ready to help these people, especially those that only now can apply for financial help.”
The minister explained that the main problem faced by employees is that the applications are – in most cases – not properly filled out.
“Since the applications are not properly filled out, we need to contact other agencies or banks. This is not something that can be done in a day,” said Emilianidou, adding that making sure that the money goes to people who actually need it is of the outmost importance.
Asked on how many pensioners have filed for the GMI, Emilianidou said that around 9,000 people who are entitled to a pension still haven’t applied.
“We will split them up to several sub-categories so as to be able to examine each case individually and determine why they haven’t filed a GMI application.”
Emilianidou gave the example of an elderly man who is in a hospice and has no relatives to file an application for him.
“Our goal is to make sure that not a single pensioner is left behind,” she said.