State to support parents of children with special needs during crisis ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Social Insurance Board (SKA) office.
Social Insurance Board (SKA) office. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The government agreed on Thursday to support parents raising children with special needs who cannot work during the emergency situation.

The purpose of the allowance is to provide a replacement income for a parent who, due to their circumstances, has to be temporarily absent from work due to raising a child with special needs during the emergency situation.

Minister of Social Affairs Tanel Kiik said: "The transition to distance learning in educational institutions means a significantly greater burden on parents of children with special needs, because the special needs of a child require additional supervision and support in both learning and care activities, which is why parents must temporarily leave work.

"Some children with special needs also have weakened immunity, which puts them at risk of COVID-19, and it is understandable and advisable that in situations where teleworking is not possible, parents are temporarily absent from work and the state will provide support to these families to cope with emergencies." 

A person who is raising a child with an immunodeficiency, severe or profound disability or a certain special educational need and who, according to the employment register, is on unpaid leave or whose performance of a contract under the law of obligations has been suspended is entitled to parental benefit for a child with special needs. 

In order to receive the benefit, an agreement must be reached between the parent and the employer or the person providing the work on leave or suspension of the contract, and the employer or the employer must record the agreement in the employment register.

The allowance will be based on 70 percent of the average income for last year subject to social tax. The minimum amount of support in one month is €540 and the maximum amount is €1,050. The benefit is paid retroactively from the day of parental unpaid leave or suspension of the performance of a contract under the law of obligations, but not earlier than March 12. 

The Social Insurance Board (sotsiaalkindlustusamet) will send a notification to the parents of a child with special needs about the possibility of receiving support and, from April 13, also a self-service offer. The parent must confirm receipt of the allowance in the self-service of the Social Insurance Board. The first payments will start on April 20.

On March 12, the government declared a state of emergency in connection with the spread of COVID-19 and decided to transfer educational institutions to distance learning.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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