Cyprus Mail

Repeated low-income welfare applications are clogging the system

Unemployment is expected to reach 9 per cent

Of 2,500 applications currently under consideration for payment of guaranteed minimum income, some 1,600 are repeat applications, resulting in delays in processing, a labour ministry official said on Monday.

Phanos Kouroufexis told the Cyprus News Agency the ministry was looking at measures and procedures to address the problem of recurring claims, and also better serve those receiving benefits.

Many applications regarding the minimum guaranteed income are rejected because the applicants’ revenue is above the criteria set, or they have bank deposits or because they don’t show up at jobs the ministry sends them to. Following the rejection, the same people file a new application the next day forcing the authorities to process the documents anew and reject it again. Rejection is again followed by a fresh application, clogging the system and delaying assistance to those who really need it.

According to Kouroufexis, a number of people have filed applications six times in the four years since the GMI was introduced, despite the rejections.

Kouroufexis said around 25,000 cases, most of them single – pensioners, people with disabilities — are beneficiaries in 2018, while three years ago the number was 36,000. The decrease is the result of a drop in the number of unemployed.

Kouroufexis also said applications for child allowances were being processed and those who filed in August will receive their money in late November.

Applicants who sent submissions towards the end of September will be paid at the end of the year, while later submissions, from October and November, will be dealt with in January and February respectively.

He noted that over 65,000 applications are submitted annually for the child allowance.

Kouroufexis said December allowances to minimum guaranteed income recipients, people with low pensions, single parents, and people who qualify for child allowances will be received before Christmas as in previous years.

If someone submits an application in November, it will obviously not be possible to pay them the sum in December but in January, he said.

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