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New ‘1450’ hotline for benefits and pensions queries

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A new hotline for any inquiries related to welfare benefits should go live sometime within the next few days, Deputy Minister for Welfare Marilena Evangelou said on Tuesday.

She made the comments during his first appearance in parliament since taking office.

Members of the public will be able to call the hotline at 1450 for any queries relating to benefits and pensions, she said.

The rollout of the hotline had been planned for earlier this month but got delayed.

It will operate for two months on a trial basis, with a view to making it a permanent fixture.

The hotline will operate from Monday through Friday between 8am and 5pm. Calls within Cyprus will be free of charge. Callers from abroad can use 22008020, at a charge.

The number was set up with the collaboration of the deputy research ministry and is seen as a step towards modernising the government’s services to people and businesses.

Lawmakers reminded the new minister of the delays in processing benefits applications, something which Michaelidou acknowledged but said they were working to improve.

Michaelidou also said a top priority for her ministry was a five per cent increase in low-income pensions, in line with the election campaign pledge of President Nikos Christodoulides.

Social Services are currently costing the proposal.

In addition, the junior minister spoke of a pilot programme of ‘neighborhood social workers’, already rolled out in four municipalities and three communities.

The programme is being evaluated, and could be later expanded across the island.

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