Cuts to State assistance for child care go into effect Tuesday
As next phase in government's budget cut program gets underway, decrease in childcare allowances means some families will experience reduction of hundreds of shekels in state assistance. 'These are working parents, cuts will grow circle of poverty'
Starting Tuesday, cuts to child care funds go into effect, as part of the 2013-2014 Arrangements Law. The move is to reduce by hundreds of shekels sums paid to families by the National Insurance Institute, regardless of the number of children in the family or of the family's income.
Under the new guidlelines, parents will receive NIS 140 (approximately $40) for each child born after 2003. In comparison, before the cuts were made, parents would receive NIS 263 (roughly $74) for second, third and fourth child, and NIS 175(approximately $50) for each child after the fifth.
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Payments to children born before 2003, payments have also been reduced, meaning that families tending to any number of children are to receive reduced funds.
The decision to cut the funds has been subject to great criticism. In May, National Insurance Institute (NII) Director Prof. Shlomo Mor Yosef said regarding the cuts: "More than 40,000 families will be pushed under the poverty line, and many poor families will become poorer."
"When you reach levels of NIS 140 as child benefits, you can just cancel it because it means nothing. Child benefits are not an invention of the haredim; they are the State's way of helping its citizens," the NII director argued.
"This is a black day to Israeli society," said National Council for the Child Chairman Dr. Yitzhak Kadman, adding that contrary to what the Finance Ministry is advertising, "most of those who receive the funds are working people in small families. The cut will only increase the number of children and families who are below the poverty line.
Finance Minister Yair Lapid wrote to supporters of his party last weekend: "For years, it has been proven repeatedly that child allowances do not get people out of poverty, they perpetuate poverty. There is only one thing helps families get out of the circle of poverty – and that is work. That is what parental and social responsibility mean. We will help everyone who wants to go out and get a job, but there is one thing we will not back down about: The middle class is not supposed to fund people who can work but don’t.
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