New unemployment illness benefit agreement
The government’s plan to reform the illness-based unemployment benefits (sygedagpenge) in order to push more people into work was agreed upon today in parliament.
The employment minister, Mette Frederiksen (S), said that the agreement, which is expected to generate yields of 385 million kroner and 1,700 new jobs when fully implemented, was important because it will help the thousands of sick people who lose their benefits every year.
One of the central points of the agreement is the removal of the 52-week time limitation for sygedagpenge, which has led to thousands of people losing their rights to receive the benefit and has pushed many people completely out of public support.
“Thanks to a very broad majority, we today managed to ensure that no citizens will risk falling into the so-called ‘black hole’ and be left without any kind of income as of 1 July 2014,” Frederiksen said in a press release. “In future, public help won’t end at a specific date but at a time when the ill individual is back on their feet.”
Enhedslisten cites "broken promises"
Conversely, the agreement will re-introduce an initiative in which, after five months of receiving sygedagpenge, recipients may receive a lower financial benefit amount.
Enhedslisten (EL), the only party not to support the agreement, criticised the agreement and accused the government for breaking campaign promises.
“The government’s election platform included scrapping the time limitation of sygedagpenge, but now they’re also reducing the period in which the ill can receive the benefit before ending up receiving a much lower benefit after just five months,” Finn Sørensen, a spokesperson for EL, said in a press release. “That’s a clear broken promise by the government.”
The agreement comes just days after new figures from the employment agency, Arbejdsmarkedsstyrelsen, revealed that particularly young unemployed people on welfare benefits are quick to return to state support after finding work.