More sup­port planned for those in need

Kathimerini English - - Front Page - ROULA SALOUROU

The La­bor Min­istryis draft­ing a new sup­port pol­icy for the least priv­i­leged so­cial groups, which from next year will re­place the Min­i­mum Guar­an­teed In­come ben­e­fit with the So­cial Sol­i­dar­ity In­come (SSI) al­lowance. This will pro­vide peo­ple in need with in­come sup­port, hous­ing, healthcare and trans­port.

The SSI will be granted to peo­ple who will likely be cho­sen from across the coun­try based on their tax­able in­comes. They will re­ceive the ben­e­fit through the so-called Sol­i­dar­ity Card, while there will be a small cash pay­ment too.

In prac­tice, the SSI card will con­sti­tute an ex­ten­sion of the food card that is used by 350,000 peo­ple. There­fore, by 2017, some 1 mil­lion cit­i­zens will have ac­cess to food and cloth­ing as well as cer­tain med­i­cal and ed­u­ca­tional ser­vices. It will be com­bined with es­ti­mates of re­cip­i­ents’ per­sonal needs and the pro­ce­dures will be sim­pli­fied, while the ben­e­fi­cia­ries will be linked to and helped with reac­cess­ing the la­bor mar­kett.

The min­istry aims to ex­pand the SSI from April 2016 and to have it ap­plied to all those liv­ing be­low the poverty line by Jan­uary 2017. This will be part of a Na­tional So­cial Sol­i­dar­ity Sys­tem to be cre­ated in Greece for the first time, with au­ton­omy and state con­trol, that will be sup­ported by a le­gal frame­work.

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