Refugees shocked by Austrian call to repay benefits
TWO NONAGENARIAN Austrian refugees living in Manchester are facing demands for thousands of pounds of benefit repayments from the Austrian government.
As Austrian nationals, the 93-yearold woman and 92-year-old man, who are both in care homes, are entitled to pensions from the Austrian government.
However, they had also been receiving Pflegegeld, the Austrian version of the attendance allowance paid to disabled people needing help with care.
They were unaware they were not entitled to Pflegegeld if they were receiving the British equivalent. It can only be claimed in one country.
The Austrian authorities demanded 17,000 euros from the woman and an undisclosed amount from the man. Both were shocked by the demands and their cases have been taken up by the Association for Jewish Refugees.
AJR chief executive Michael Newman has negotiated the claim against the woman down to 3,500 euros and is hopeful of further progress in both instances.
“It’s something we’re trying to resolve,” he said. “Both are Holocaust refugees who have care needs. They were both receiving the benefits. We responded to say they were unaware of the EU directive, that they acted in good faith and made a full disclosure.
“There will be other people who will be receiving both payments but they have seemed to have zeroed in on these two.”
He hoped the Austrian pension authorities would waive claims in such cases.
A Department of Work and Pensions spokesperson confirmed: “EU rules prevent people from claiming the same or equivalent benefit in two different countries. Anyone unsure of their eligibility for attendance allowance should contact the Attendance Allowance helpline.” Stuart Epstein’s widow Daliah addressing JRoots supporters at the central London dinner
‘They acted in good faith and made a full disclosure’
A HOLOCAUST education fund has been established in memory of a Hampstead Garden Suburb father-ofthree who died suddenly in December at the age of 44.
The Stuart Epstein JRoots Fund was launched on Monday by Mr Epstein’s widow Daliah and four Holocaust survivors at the first JRoots fundraising dinner, held in central London and
attended by 400 people. Its purpose is to finance visits by young Jews to Poland and other key Jewish heritage sites across Europe and north Africa.
Shortly before his death, Mr Epstein raised £20,000 for JRoots, having been inspired by participating in one of its six-day Poland tours guided by Auschwitz survivor Leslie Kleinman.
Mrs Epstein said launching the fund was “a bitter-sweet pleasure. After experiencing the history of the
Holocaust in such a real way, Stuart wanted to give back for what he believed JRoots had done for him and so many others in opening eyes to our Jewish heritage, Jewish history and Jewish responsibility.”
It is anticipated the primary beneficiaries will be pupils of JFS and members of United Synagogue youth arm Tribe, both of which have connections to the Epstein family.
The dinner raised £250,000.