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Gov’t child benefit scheme: EUR 38 bn handed out in six years

The beneficiaries of the governmental child benefit programme “Family 500+” have received around PLN 178 bn (EUR 38 bn) since the beginning of the campaign, the Family and Social Policies Ministry told the Polish Press Agency.

Initiated in 2016, “Family 500+” is a flag programme of the ruling United Right coalition. The goal of the drive has been to “strip off the label of ‘social aid’ and bestow upon it a ‘family investment’ approach,” a ministerial statement said.

“Instead of stigmatising families, especially large families, availing themselves of state aid, we proved that [family] support can be widespread and should be treated as an investment in the family, and an investment that pays off to all — the state, local governments and, first and foremost, families themselves,” Family and Social Policies Minister Marlena Maląg said.

With the exact amount of money at PLN 177.9 bn (EUR 38.26 bn) handed out to families, as many as 6.5 mln Polish children benefited from financial aid under the programme.

A good start in life

According to CBOS, an opinion polling institute, in March 2021 Poles praised the scheme and how it impacted their household budgets.

A total of 36 percent of the respondents declared that they personally knew people who benefited from the drive, whilst 33 percent said they saw a significant improvement to the conditions of children from impoverished families.

“The average level of monthly disposable income per person amounted to PLN 1,919 in 2020, which was PLN 533 more than in 2015. In 2020, the disposable income per person in a household inhabited by at least three children was 64 percent higher level than in 2015. Implementing the benefit also played a major role in curbing extreme poverty in Poland over the last few years. In 2020, the scope of extreme poverty among children amounted to 5.9 percent, whilst prior to 2016, it amounted to 9-10 percent,” a statement by CBOS said.

One of the early targets of the scheme was to increase the birthrate in Poland. The number of births in 2016-2020 amounted to some 1.9 mln, and exceeded Statistics Poland’s estimates by 103,400. Moreover, the number turned out 7,900 higher than forecast by the assessment of the child benefit programme.

Millions of families

In its early phases 2016, the benefit was paid out to families with two or more children. The financial aid could be granted to families with a single child or the only child younger than 18 under the condition that the benefiting family was found eligible under certain income criteria.

On July 1, 2019, the formula was extended and the income brackets dropped. Today, all families with children can benefit from the programme regardless of their incomes and the number of children. The procedures for receiving aid have also been facilitated.

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