FINANCE

Handouts worth €338.5 mln

The recipients will be health professionals, low-income pensioners and people with disabilities

handouts-worth-e338-5-mln

The measures Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on Monday in Parliament will cover the effects of price hikes on people with low pensions and disabilities for the next six months, according to Finance Ministry sources.

The interventions announced, totaling 338.5 million euros, will also support frontline health professionals, who have borne the brunt of the pandemic.

– A handout equal to half a monthly minimum salary is to be paid with the December salary to health workers at hospitals, health centers and in the emergency service. Some 100,000 professionals qualify to receive the benefit adding up to €90 million.

– Pensioners with an annual taxable income of up to €7,200 (or €600 per month) and an annual family taxable income of up to €14,400, as well as property with a total taxable value up to €200,000, will get a €250 handout plus €50 per dependent relative. This concerns about 800,000 pensioners, with the total cost at €205 million.

– Recipients of the disability allowance will also get a €250 handout at end-December. They number about 173,000 and the measure will cost €43.5 million.

The last couple of measures concerning the tackling of price increases are added to those previously announced to help people cope with the energy rate hikes – i.e. the electricity bill subsidy and the heating benefit adding up to €680 million. Therefore the cost of inflation weighs fairly heavily on the state budget, and not just on households.

The government wanted to soften the blow for retirees with low pensions as they will not receive the retroactive dues following the recalculation of pensions.

Although ministry officials kept stressing in recent weeks that the budget runs a high deficit and there is no margin for a social dividend, eventually that was promised, in a way, as a way to contain the blow from retail price hikes. The 2022 budget, tabled last Friday, did not mention the extra €338.5 million, though it could not have included it given the measures had not been announced.