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Government likely to pay pension bonus before election says minister

Marek Zakrzewski/PAP

A discretionary extra pension, called the 14th pension, will be likely paid out to old-age pensioners before the parliamentary elections planned for this autumn, according to the family and social policy minister.

On Wednesday, Marlena Malag told Polish Radio that the decision on the date of payment of the benefit will be made by the government, but “most probably” it will be paid “just like last year… in late August or early September.”

“The decision will be taken by the Cabinet once the bill has been passed by parliament and signed by the president,” she said.

Malag also said that the Sejm, lower house of the Polish parliament, was scheduled to work later in the day on a bill changing the 14th pension into a permanent allowance for pensioners.

She added that the annual bonus would be paid regularly in the latter half of the year but stipulated that “the Cabinet will adopt a resolution which will precisely define it.”

According to Malag, the bonus is currently aimed at pensioners with the lowest income. “We are leave the eligibility threshold at the level in the previous year of PLN 2,900 (EUR 647),” she said.

Those receiving a higher pension, will have the payment reduced by the amount exceeding PLN 2,900 gross.

According to officials, around 8.3 million senior citizens will benefit from the 14th pension, with 5.8 million eligible for the full payment.

The Law and Justice (PiS) government had already written into law the 13th pension, a bonus paid to pensioners in the first half of the year, while the 14th pension had remained a discretionary payment that the government said would only be paid out in the second half of the year if the country’s budget condition was favourable.

On May 16, Mateusz Morawiecki, the prime minister, said the Cabinet had approved the 14th pension as a permanent allowance for all old-age pensioners.

Malag said then that the government wanted to meet its commitment towards senior citizens and thank them for raising children and grandchildren.

In 2023, the 14th pension will cost taxpayers PLN 11.6 billion (EUR 2.58 billion), and the amount will go up to PLN 13.1 billion (EUR 2.92 billion) by 2026.

Earlier this month, PiS unveiled new social welfare measures, which included a raise in the monthly child benefit to PLN 800 (EUR 178) from PLN 500 (EUR 111), free medicines for people over the age of 65 and under 18, and the scrapping of motorway tolls for private motorists.

The prime minister said on Monday that those programmes would cost the state budget PLN 26 billion (EUR 5.77 billion) annually.

Poland will hold the general election this autumn.

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