For Some, Receiving Social Assistance Is Better than Working

By 10 March 2017

Some people do not even try to find a job, since their social welfare payments are higher than any salary they could ever get.

In 2016, about 400 people in the Osijek area lost the right to receive social financial assistance, with about 60 percent of people losing that right due to their failure to regularly register with the Croatian Employment Service, which means they did not want to actively try to find a job for themselves. In other words, these are people who would rather receive social assistance than work in order to support themselves and their families, reports Glas Slavonije on March 10, 2017.

This is not surprising, especially when it comes to parents of several small children who, when all the financial assistance they receive is added up, in reality have much higher monthly incomes than they could ever earn working.

“Registering with the Croatian Employment Service is one of preconditions to receive social assistance, but many think it is enough to report just once, so they stop coming to counselling sessions and they do not respond to invitations for job interviews, which clearly shows that they are not actively looking for a job. Past experience shows that many of them do not even want to work. Among persons who lose the right to receive social assistance due to failing to report to the Croatian Employment Service, there are many people with a lack of education, which means that, if they were to find a job, they could not expect salary much higher than the minimum wage, which is 2,620.80 kuna a month. At the same time, many of them have large families, and if you add up all the social assistance they receive, it is easy to see why they do not want to work”, said Ivka Kaurinović, acting director of the Centre for Social Welfare in Osijek.

Here is an example of a seven member family, which includes mother, father and five minor children. “The unemployed mother and father receive 480 kuna each per month, and each child receives 320 kuna. In addition, for each child parents receive a child allowance in the amount of 300 kuna, which amounts to a total of 4,060. In addition, they receive 50 percent of that amount, 2,030 kuna, obtained from the town authorities in order to cover their monthly utility bills. So, their monthly income amounts to 6,090 kuna. In addition, they receive 900 kuna a year for heating, and every month an additional voucher worth 200 kuna to pay for electricity. There are many families in which both the mother and the father work and who together do not have that kind of monthly income”, said a Centre representative.

After they lose the social benefits due to failure to report to the Croatian Employment Service, they again submit their initial registration, but without any real desire to find a job.

Centre for Social Welfare carries out annual review of the status of all its users. It is an opportunity to find out if anyone had lost the right to social assistance for any reason. Among other things, social workers can check various databases in order to see whether the person who applied for social assistance owns a car or has perhaps inherited a property somewhere.

“There are cases of people losing social assistance due to owning a car or inheriting properties. But, among 40 percent of people who lose the right to social assistance for other reasons, most of them are either dead or have moved somewhere else”, said Kaurinović. “Even if people buy a car or inherit something, they usually registered them on someone else’s name, and we cannot do anything about it.”