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Following Protests and Controversies, Gov’t Raises Subsidy for Home Caregivers

Ábrahám Vass 2018.10.11.

The government has increased the subsidy for parents who care for terminally sick children. In addition, the subsidy for those staying at home to take care of sick family members other than children will also be raised, wire service MTI reported. The decision was preceded by heated debates and protests.

The government will raise the caregiver subsidy for parents tending to terminally ill children in their homes to a monthly 100,000 forints (EUR 307) from January 1, the state secretary for family affairs said on Thursday, adding that the subsidy will match the minimum wage by 2022. Katalin Novák also said that the subsidy for those staying at home to take care of sick family members other than children will also increase by 15 percent next year and then by a further 5 percent every year until 2022.

At the moment in Hungary, more than 45,000 people are in charge of caring for sick family members at home, which involves 24/365 surveillance. Currently, those who meet the criteria receive a monthly net amount between 29,340 and 52,812 forints (EUR 90-162). Even with additional benefits, this only amounts to 75,810 forints (EUR 233) in total for both parties.

This situation has incited heated protests and debates over the past few months, especially after the National Assembly voted in favor of the MPs salary hikes. Back in 2014, the Ministry of Human Capacities (EMMI) rejected a similar proposal. In May, NGOs began a campaign which included a signature-drive, several celebrity endorsements and multiple demonstrations held in Kossuth Square. The demonstrations – controversially labeled by certain pro-Fidesz media outlets as organized and exploited by “[George] Soros’ mercenaries”- saw a continuous increase in support from the public. This was confirmed by a poll taken by Pulzus Kutató Ins. which showed that 94% of people believe home-nursing should be recognized as a job.

In August, the government announced that talks are underway and demonstrators are “knocking on doors which are already open” and that they are treating the issue as a priority, unlike previous left-liberal governments. The government claims that these benefits have been increasing gradually since 2010 under Fidesz.

featured image: demonstration in front of the Parliament; via nepszava.hu