State set to raise widowers' benefits

Proposed Amendment would boost welfare allowances 20 percent.

Old man walking with a cane 311 (photo credit: AP)
Old man walking with a cane 311
(photo credit: AP)
Men who lose their spouses could soon see an increase in their state benefits after the Ministerial Committee for Legislation on Sunday approved an amendment to the National Insurance Law that would boost their welfare allowance by almost 20 percent, it was announced Monday.
The bill, which was drafted by MKs Haim Katz, chairman of the Knesset Health, Labor and Welfare Committee, and David Azoulay, and was backed by Welfare and Social Services Minister Isaac Herzog and National Insurance Institute director-general Esther Dominissini, will grant widowers a state income of up to 75% of the average wage.
Today, widowers receive less than 57% of the average income, as opposed to widows, who receive the full amount.
The move will cost the state millions of shekels, a Welfare and Social Services Ministry spokesman said.
Despite fierce protests from the Finance Ministry, which believes that increasing benefits for widowers will end up reducing those allocated to widows, Herzog and Dominissini were able to persuade other ministers involved to back the bill, which is expected to pass the Knesset on Wednesday.
Herzog called the decision a historic one that “will correct an unfairness that exists in the system.
“This is only the first step to bring benefits and rights for widowers in line with those allocated to widows,” he added.