Family benefits law adopted by the Riigikogu
The State Family Benefits Act was adopted by the Riigikogu on Wednesday, which will consolidate previously separate family support, parental benefit and maintenance allowance laws into one law and create a child support scheme to provide a guaranteed minimum monthly support to children with a non-paying parent as well as crack down on parents who owe child support.
The law also establish new principles for the payment of child support, whose goal is to improve the livelihood of children living in single-parent homes wherein the other parent is not upholding their child support obligations, reported ERR’s television news.
According to a decision on the matter made by the Estonian Government, the state will support children with one non-paying parent with an amount up to 100 euros per month from a child support fund for which the Estonian state budget has allotted 7.2 million euros.
According to MP Maire Aunaste (IRL), the creation of the fund is a landmark achievement that will help spare formerly married and divorced women from having to beg their former partners for money.
“This has been long awaited by many single parents who have been guaranteed child support payments from a child’s other parent by law but have perhaps never actually seen the money,” added MP Helmen Kütt, speaking to ETV’s nightly news broadcast “Aktuaalne kaamera."
“The 100 euros per month that the state will begin paying on behalf of non-paying parents, this will first and foremost go to the children — it can be deposited directly to either the child’s bank account or to that their legal guardian, “ explained Aunaste, who found that single parents no longer having to beg their partners for financial support was a “huge thing.”
The Family Benefits Act will also affect 19 other laws tied to the adoption of the Estonian National Social Insurance Board’s new information system in 2017. The new info system will provide a faster and more convenient means of applying for benefits and services online.
The act will also extend the child support payment window from the current 90 days to 150 days.
As of 2015, Estonia had 8,043 parents with child support debt totaling of 14.5 million euros between them.