By Elias Hazou
A NUMBER of people eligible for the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) but who applied late started receiving the payout in their bank accounts on Thursday and will continue on Friday.
The government has instructed the Central Bank to credit the bank accounts of these people, said Andreas Assiotis, permanent secretary of the Labour ministry.
Authorities have completed assessment of the 17,500 first-time applicants, and currently around 7,500 households have been approved and are receiving payment monthly.
At the same time, Assiotis said, authorities are processing GMI applications by people who previously got public assistance.
It is from this category of people that some 1,400 applications were recently rejected, he clarified.
The applicants in question did not meet the wealth criteria set out in the law. Meanwhile, instructions have been issued so that authorities likewise cut off any other public assistance given to these 1,400.
Applicants who were rejected had furnished authorities with false information on their property and bank deposits.
People who feel their GMI application was wrongly rejected may appeal the decision, Assiotis added.
Main opposition AKEL accused the government of leaving these 1,400 families to fend for themselves, without any benefits whatsoever. MP Andreas Fakondis demanded that the government come up with an ad hoc benefit for them.
Fending off criticism, Assiotis insisted the wealth criteria for GMI are “reasonable.”
In order to be eligible, a person’s immovable property – other than their primary residence – must be valued at under €100,000.
“One shouldn’t focus on whether the €100,000 property threshold is high or low,” said Assiotis.
“Rather, one must realise that the taxes required to fund these benefits are also paid by our fellow citizens who may not possess any immovable property at all or who own an apartment that is worth only €50,000.”
GMI was introduced last year, replacing the previous system of public assistance allowance.