October 17, 2021

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Changes in 500+ are at risk.  Thousands of children may be left without money

Changes in 500+ are at risk. Thousands of children may be left without money

The government’s amendment of the 500+ program envisages several major changes. First of all, ZUS will take care of its services – accept applications from parents, consider them and pay money to parents. The government explained that it is about savings and in 10 years the costs of the program will be 3.1 billion PLN lower.

However, there is the other side of the coin – today, applications over 500+ are considered by local governments that have hired staff specifically for this task. As labor unions appreciate, the Social Insurance Institution’s takeover of the program means that many people in city and municipal offices will have to be fired. Currently, the program serves exactly 11,934 people. Their release means that severance payments and benefits must be financed – in the amount of about PLN 72 million – according to OPZZ’s calculation.

Changes at 500+. Senate debate

Senators have made reference to this argument. Local government officials can not only help accept applications and pay benefits, but also check how those benefits are spent and, in some cases, convert cash payments into benefits, services, or in-kind. Municipal residents are accustomed to the place where they carry out this task, and it is very close to them, because when it comes to one of the state programs that are already recognized among all, that is, 500+, they know who to turn to in case of difficulties in filling out the application. We are changing the rules of the game overnight, because in 2.5 months. Everything that has been good so far suddenly stops being good – KO’s Senator Magdalena Kochan explained. Senators asked how ZUS, which pays pensions, family and tourist benefits and more than 300 coupons, would handle the program, which now has nearly 12,000 employees.

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