On March 23, during an online briefing, Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Maryna Lazebna outlined the main steps of the Government to strengthen the social protection of citizens against the background of the global economic crisis and spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
Housing subsidy program will be expanded
"The Government guarantees the smooth functioning of the housing subsidy program... Moreover, amid quarantine, we are intensifying this direction," said Maryna Lazebna.
According to the Minister, at a Government meeting, an issue of compensation for the additional costs for the 3 million households that currently receive a subsidy for certain utilities during the quarantine will be considered. "This will be done through increasing by 50% the social standards for electricity, natural gas for cooking, heating water, using hot and cold water. We are doing that to remunerate for the increased costs of families staying at home during the quarantine period. On average, it will be about 300 UAH," said Maryna Lazebna.
Moreover, according to the official, the procedure for granting subsidies to people who lose their jobs amid quarantine will be simplified.
Meanwhile, the Minister stressed that the Government guarantees that for the time of quarantine no penalties would be applied for the accumulated debts.
"The law has already been adopted, we will stipulate for that in a separate decision of the Government and will give appropriate commissions to local governments to control the implementation of it. This is being done to ensure that retirees at risk stay at home without the need to get outside," she stressed.
Caring for retirees
Maryna Lazebna announced that from April more than one million seniors who receive pension up to UAH 5,000 would be paid an additional UAH 1,000.
Moreover, the Minister told that from May the Government would launch labour pension indexation by 11%, as a result of which 7 million pensioners will receive a guaranteed increase. At the same time, a UAH 500 monthly supplement to the pension will be assigned starting May for 1.5 million pensioners who have reached the age of 80 or more.
"Both procedures - the surcharge and the indexation of pensions are implemented automatically by the Pension Fund, so none has to either apply for it or additionally visit any offices," emphasized Maryna Lazebna.
Besides, she informed that the Ministry engaged in developing a project "Assistance to the elderly" in order to transfer maximum pensioners to bank cards, which will allow them to make payments for the communal services, purchase of medicines, food and more.
Apart from that, the Ministry of Social Policy and socially responsible businesses have created an online platform to help seniors and people with disabilities and deliver medicines and food.
The Minister stressed that both the Government and the Ministry, in synergy with 40,000 social workers, ensure that citizens receive the necessary social services during the quarantine.