Estonian government finishes bill to cut back family benefits
The Estonian government has approved draft legislation to amend the country's family benefits regulation and will be sending it to the Riigikogu.
The bill will see the recently hiked large family benefit slashed by €200 a month and scraps their indexation. The gradual exit from the large family benefit will also be abolished, with the benefit ending as soon as the oldest child turns 19.
The changes only concern the large family benefit, and the January 1 first and second child benefit hike will stand.
The additional large family benefit will fall to €450 a month for families with three to six children and €650 for those with seven and more children. State maintenance allowance for children whose parents fail to make alimony payments will rise from €100 to €200 per month.
July 1 will mark the end of the gradual exit from the large family benefit, which entitled families to the instrument until the youngest child turns 19.
Families who have been receiving two-thirds of the instrument from the start of this year will be given a six-month transitionary period during which they will retain the benefit until the end of 2023. Families that would have qualified from July 1 will not be entitled to the benefit.
These changes will help save €5.1 million this year and €151.8 million by 2027.
Data from the Social Insurance Fund suggests maintenance allowance reached 2 percent or 6,160 children last year.
As of March 31 this year, the large family benefit reached 24,846 families of which 129 had seven or more children.
Large families are raising a total of 80,739 children or 29 percent of all children eligible for child benefits.
The family benefits hike that is now being walked back was introduced by Estonia's previous government that included the Isamaa party that pushed for the changes.
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Editor: Marcus Turovski