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DANISH NEWS - The newly passed cap limits how much welfare recipients can claim in supplementary benefits
The government’s much-criticised cap on social benefits was passed by the centre-right majority, Thursday, after a lengthy and heated parliamentary debate. This is according to Seven59.dk.
The cap limits how much welfare recipients can claim in supplementary benefits such as housing allowance, but opponents have claimed it will lead to hundreds of evictions when people are unable to pay their rent.
At the same time, the government alliance passed a new rule requiring all those who receive emergency cash benefits, integration allowance, or a re-training grant to work at least 225 hours every year to maintain their handouts.
The new legislation takes effect from 1 August 2016 and is part of the government’s ‘Job Initiative Phase 1’, aimed at encouraging more of those on welfare to look for work. However, the left-wing opposition has claimed it will lead to more homeless, more kids in poverty, and make it difficult for families to buy medical prescriptions and healthy food.
The Danish People’s Party (DPP) voted for the cuts even though party leader Kristian Thulesen Dahl stated during last year’s election campaign that his party ‘would never support any move to cut social benefits’. He dismissed ‘broken promise’ accusations yesterday by claiming that the new bill only concerns ‘add ons’ and not the basic amount of benefit.
During yesterday’s debate the far-left Red/Greens’ Finn Sørensen proclaimed it ‘judgment day for the 30,000 welfare recipients who will be hit by the new rules.
Around 500 Danish war veterans who’ve fought in Iraq and Afghanistan could be hard hit by the cap on benefits.
The Enlisted and Corporal Association (Hærens Konstabel- og Korporalforening/HKKF) and the Soldier Scholarship Fund (Soldaterlegatet), which provide financial aid and advisory services for veterans and their families, estimate that some could lose up to DKK 2,000 per month.
Head of HKKF, Flemming Vinter, called it ‘incomprehensible’ for the government to take money from people who’ve fought for Denmark.
”This will make their lives even more difficult and could drive some from their homes,” he said, ”when our members are claiming welfare it isn’t because they are lazy or afraid of work, it’s because they are fighting new problems, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD) and other aftershocks of war.”
The Danish People’s Party’s finance spokesman, René Christensen, said he sympathised with the soldiers’ frustrations but doesn’t believe the new rules are unreasonable. He urged any veterans in financial difficulties to ‘convert any loans they may have with high interest rate’, or ‘ask the bank to do something’ so they can survive on a lower income until they find work.
The ruling Liberals’ employment spokesman, Hans Andersen, said it ‘pained him’ to see soldiers ‘stuck in the benefits trap’ but added that those suffering from PTSD shouldn’t even be on welfare.
”We need to ensure that those who can’t work full-time because of a war-related injury are granted a disability pension or the possibility of a part-time, state-funded job,” he told DR News.
Read the original article on Politiko.dk (in Danish).
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