Only electronic submission of applications for 500 plus and payment of the benefit only in non-cash form – these are some changes in the amendment to be dealt with by the Council of Ministers on Tuesday. The rules for people receiving a similar child benefit in other countries will also change.
I am talking about the draft amendment to the Act on State Aid in Raising Children and some other acts. Its author is the Ministry of Family and Social Policy.
Changes in the 500 plus
“Taking into account the enormous scale of the program and the financial outlays incurred for it, it is reasonable to verify and optimize the process of granting and servicing the 500 plus benefit” – it was written in the list of legislative works and programs of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister.
The information on the website of the Chancellery of the Prime Minister shows that in the current form of the program, matters related to the childcare benefit are handled by local government units, and in matters requiring decisions and resolutions related to the coordination of social security systems – by the voivode. It was recalled that the Act allows for the possibility of submitting applications in various forms, including in paper, and the payment of the benefit may be in the form of a postal order, cash withdrawal or bank transfer.
ZUS is to support the Family 500 plus program
“The proposed change eliminates the shortcomings resulting from the current process of servicing 500 plus benefits. It is assumed that the unit servicing the Family 500 plus program will be changed to the Social Insurance Institution, as an institution with adequate resources and IT systems, and thus able to efficiently and effectively handle 500 plus benefits. Moreover, it is assumed that only electronic channels for submitting applications will be used and benefits will be paid only in a non-cash form “- results from the draft amendment. ZUS will gradually take over the service of 500 plus.
It was emphasized that the proposed solution aims to optimize the process of granting and handling the benefit, and thus “a very significant reduction of the costs of its service”. The project initiator’s estimates show that in the years 2022-2032, the total estimated service costs will amount to approx. PLN 427 million, which is to mean savings for the state budget at the level of approx. PLN 3.1 billion over a 10-year period. In turn, the increase in expenditure on childcare benefits related to the granting of full benefits under the provisions on the coordination of social security systems is expected to amount to approximately PLN 174 million in the period 2022–2032.
It has been added that the new solutions are to reduce the risk of COVID-19 infection by eliminating the risk of transmitting coronavirus on paper documents and through cash. They are also to eliminate direct contact with other people when submitting applications in person.
A payment for those who receive benefits in other countries
The draft also provides for a modification in the scope of awarding 500 plus. In Poland, this benefit will be due in full, irrespective of prioritization in the payment of benefits in another country.
“This solution aims to provide migrants with the greatest benefit in terms of entitlement to benefits than those offered by the system of the EU regulation and by national legislation” – emphasized.
The person responsible for developing the project is the deputy head of the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy, Barbara Socha.
Achieving the 500 plus goals
On August 19, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki admitted that the 500 plus program did not meet expectations “proliferative” government. – But it has met our social expectations, because there is not so much poverty anymore, there is not so much buying in shops “for notebooks”, on credit. (…) Today it’s a little easier to make ends meet. Today it is easier to plan life in a commune, life in a poviat, life on a farm – said Morawiecki.
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