(photo credit: REUTERS)
The National Insurance Institute began paying increased child allotments to families on Sunday, after they had been cut by the previous government.
The higher payments are based on a government decision stipulated as part of the coalition deal between the Likud and United Torah Judaism, which sought to reinstate the child allotments cut in 2013.
According to the new NII guidelines, families with children born prior to May 31, 2003, will receive monthly payments of NIS 150 for the first child, NIS 188 for the second and third children, NIS 336 for a fourth child and NIS 354 for five and more children.
In addition, they will receive payment retroactively for the period between May 2015 and November 2015 of NIS 70 for the first child, NIS 336 for the second and NIS 112 for the third child. This sum will be paid as one large payment on December 27, 2015.
For children born from June 1, 2003 and onward parents will receive NIS 150 for the first child, NIS 188 for the second, third and fourth children and NIS 150 for the fifth child onward. They will receive retroactive payments amounting to NIS 70 for the first child, NIS 336 for the second, third and fourth child and NIS 70 for the fifth child onward.
In addition, the government decision called to establish a savings account for needy children – though this measure is not expected to take effect until 2017.
As such, an extra NIS 50 will be put into a savings account for each child, totaling up to NIS 10,800 over 18 years. With interest, however, this figure could exceed NIS 18,000 over time.
The issue of child allotments has been the center of controversy in recent weeks, as the previous government decision to cut the payments was criticized by the current coalition members as a main reason for increased poverty rates among families and children.
Last week the National Insurance Institute released its annual poverty report for 2014, which found that 1,709,300 people, some 22% of the population, including 444,900 families and 776,500 children, were living below the poverty line.
With regards to families with children, the findings indicated that the poverty rate increased from 23.0% in 2013 to 23.3% in 2014. In addition, the number of children who escaped poverty decreased between 2013 to 2014, from 12.8% to 11.3%.
According to the report’s author, Dr. Daniel Gottlieb, deputy director-general for research and planning at the NII, this was most likely due to the effects of the reduction of child allotments in 2013.
“This year there was a continued rise in housing prices and rent and in the severity and depth of poverty, partly due to the reduction in child allotments, which, for the first time in 2014, influenced an entire year’s income for families,” he wrote in the report.