Compensated Metro neighbours losing unemployment benefits

Council stops benefits, arguing that recipients should live off compensation earnings

Metro construction site neighbours who have accepted compensation for high noise levels have lost their right to unemployment benefits, Politiken newspaper reports.

In one case, the City Council is withdrawing the unemployment benefit kontanthjælp for a neighbour who accepted 30,000 kroner in noise compensation.

In a letter to the neighbour, the council explains that the compensation can be used to cover his economic needs for one month and 27 days.

READ MORE: Compensation for Metro construction neighbours

No benefits
Kontanthjælp is the least generous form of unemployment benefit, but recipients may not have more than 10,000 kroner in cash assets or a spouse earning over a certain threshold.

This summer the government’s expropriation commission, Ekspropriationskommissionen, agreed that Metro neighbours suffering from noise pollution would be given compensationForeningen af Metronaboer, an association for neighbours of construction sites, argues that the decision to stop the welfare benefits of compensated neighbours makes the compensation redundant.

“The commission’s decision was made to help people get away from their apartments during the night and evening. Kontanthjælp recipients, who are also at home during the day, will not have any opportunity to get away. So this is a de facto cancellation of the commission’s decision,” spokesperson Søren Sandahl told Politiken.

READ MORE: Neighbours fed up with Metro noise and inconvenience

Relocation better option
Sandahl argued that rehousing affected neighbours would be a far better option. That notion is supported by far-left party Enhedslisten.

“The case is getting increasingly grotesque. Residents are being treated very differently when the council […] pays compensation with one hand and takes away benefits with the other," EL's traffic spokesperson, Henning Hyllested, told Politiken. "It would be far better to offer the citizens new housing.” 

Mayor Frank Jensen (S) urged the deputy mayor for employment, Anna Mee Allerslev (R), to look into the problem, but she said her hands were tied.

“The rules for public assistance are fixed,” she told Politiken.