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Wednesday 21.08.2019 | Name days: Linda, Janīna
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Minister: Latvia’s social budget surplus has reached one billion

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Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča

The surplus of the state social budget has come close of the pre-crisis level – EUR 1 billion, said Latvian Welfare Minister Ramona Petraviča in an interview to LTV programme Rīta panorama on 15 August.

She said this surplus functions as a buffer for a potential crisis situation.

Petraviča said that at the same time there is also the increase of the amounts paid from Welfare Ministry’s supervised special budget. Next year it is planned to pay EUR 200 million more from this budget than this year. The reason is the increase in the number of pensions, sick leave and other benefits.

The minister reminded that improvement of the minimal income level’s system will be the main priorities of Welfare Ministry’s next year budget. More resources will be allocated for this in 2020.

BNN had previously reported that in the next two years – 2020 and 2021 – it is planned to perform a number of activities to improve minimal income support system in Latvia, according to the plan for the improvement of the minimal income support system in 2020-2021 submitted by Welfare Ministry and accepted by the government on Tuesday, 12 August.

There are eight planned activities in the plan. Three of them are planned to be performed in the first half-year of 2020. This plan provides for increasing support for small pension recipients, raising minimal state pension calculation base to EUR 99. It is also planned to increase support for recipients of state social security benefits who have reached pension age to EUR 99.

Prime Minister Krišjānis Kariņš admits that the amount needed to increase pensions next year is EUR 30 million. This specific proposal from Welfare Ministry will be viewed during the 2020 budget talks.

‘No one is against the idea, but the question is about our ability to reach an agreement on division of available funds, as there are many needs,’ said the prime minister.

Welfare Minister admits that by reviewing the ministry’s budget expenditures it was possible to find an idle amount of EUR 26 million, which can be diverted for pension increase.

Next year, it is also planned to increase benefits for disabled pensioners who receive state social security benefits in general cases, increasing the among for third-level disability group to EUR 99. For the first and second disability group benefits base calculation base will be increased to EUR 99. Additionally, in general and in cases when a person’s disability has been present since childhood it is planned to increase the coefficient to 1.4 for first group invalids.

Five other activities are planned to be implemented in a year. This includes Welfare Ministry’s plans to improve the support system for poor residents by setting the income level for them at 40% of the income median or EUR 198 for the first person in a household and EUR 139 for the other people in households.

Welfare Ministry plans to improve the support system for the poorest residents, setting the guaranteed minimal income level at 50% of the average poor people’s income level or EUR 99 for the first person in a household and EUR 69 for others.

In 2021 it is planned to increase state support for state social security benefit recipients of pension age and invalids. However, the plan does not mention the size of the increase.

According to the ministry, implementation of activities will require state budget funding of EUR 27.5 million in 2020. The same amount will be needed to maintain the same level in future years.


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