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Cyprus

Bill seeks to increase benefits and pensions

A bill seeking to raise the mobility benefit for workers or students with disabilities by 50 per cent was discussed on Tuesday at the House labour committee, which is also considering scrapping the 12 per cent penalty on pensions for early retirees.

In statements after the meeting, committee chairman Andreas Fakontis said that despite the increase in pensions distributed by the department of social insurance, they remain low and were driven even lower by the 12 per cent penalty on those retiring before the age of 64.

Fakontis said that he suggested to the committee that the penalty could first be eliminated for low income pensioners and retirees of hard labour jobs before scrapping the penalty for all pensioners.

He noted that the labour ministry said it will launch a study on the matter which it will present before the end of the year.

Fakontis noted that his party, Akel, had raised the issue of low pensions with the committee with a view of ensuring that no pensioner falls under the poverty line, with the elimination of the 12 per cent penalty being a step toward this end.

The committee also discussed the need to raise the mobility allowance for people with lower body disabilities and who work or study from €51 a month to €75 and from €102 to €150 for those with visual impairment or tetraplegia, regardless of whether they are employed or enrolled in a programme of study.

Fakontis added that the committee agreed to the introduction of the blind as a new category of people who will be eligible for a disability benefit of €75. The committee will also be admitting an additional 1,900 visually impaired people into the list of beneficiaries, as only 120 are currently eligible for a disability allowance.

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