More than PLN 7 billion (EUR 1.6 bn, USD 1.8 bn) has been paid out under a key new benefits initiative designed to encourage Polish families to have more children, a minister said on Tuesday. Elżbieta Rafalska, minister for family, work and social policy, said over 2.7 million benefits applications have been submitted under the government’s flagship “500+” programme, which kicked off in April.
The new handouts, designed to counteract a looming demographic crisis, were a key pledge by the Law and Justice (PiS) party ahead of its victory in the country’s October general election.
With the population of Poland set to shrink fast, the PiS government’s 500+ programme aims to ease the burdens of child-rearing by giving all families with two or more children a handout of PLN 500 a month per child, regardless of their income level.
Poorer families are entitled to the allowance even if they have just one child.