Cyprus Mail

Cabinet approves change to GMI law

The Cabinet on Tuesday approved an amendment to the law on the Guaranteed Minimum Income (GMI) to give recipients on a low pension who did not file for the allowance in 2014 an opportunity to do so by the end of 2018.

The bill will be sent to the House for consideration by urgent procedure.

The House Plenum will have an extraordinary session before or after Christmas to examine the law. They have 15 days from the day the law was referred to them to decide whether they accept it or not, secretary general of parliament Vasiliki Anastasiadou said.

Before this, the House labour committee is set to examine the reasons the president has decided to refer the law and prepare a report for all deputies.

According to an announcement, the bill concerns people who received a low pension until July 2014, beneficiaries of a complementary pension, also commonly known as the “small cheque,” and who did not to file an application to continue receiving it when the GMI kicked in.

The move comes after repeated calls from pensioner associations as around 20,000 low-income pensioners did not submit their GMI applications and have lost the right to the small cheque – a bonus the amount of which varies depending on the category the pensioner belongs to.

Based on the provisions of the proposed bill, the announcement said, these persons will have the opportunity to submit the application for the complementary pension by December 31, 2018.

With this bill, it said, safeguards are put in place, so that this right is not given to those who have given away large amounts of deposits (to relatives or other persons) to appear that they have less than €5,000 in the bank to receive allowance given to households below the poverty line.

GMI was introduced in 2014, replacing the previous system of public assistance. There is a clause in the GMI law stipulating that those with bank deposits over €5,000 or possessing real estate worth more than €100,000 are not eligible for the benefit.

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