03 Oct 2017

Making life harder for the poor

In a state as affluent as Austria, there is no need for people to live on as little as 220 Euros a month.

Julia Sahlender
Julia Sahlender Der Standard, Austria
Source: Der Standard
Making life harder for the poor - NewsMavens
Homeless man. Rebcenter-moscow.ru/Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Why this story matters:

A woman was about to become homeless when she found a spot in a "living community" for people in need. She has been unemployed for a while and lost her apartment.

Up until she moved into shared living she received 844.46 Euros per month, as per a needs-based minimum benefit system that’s in place in Austria.

But there’s a cap of 1,500 Euros in total on benefits for people living together. So she is now left with just 226.81 Euros per month.

The problem here is either a bureaucratic misshap or a case of excessively optimistic assumptions -- just because people are living under the same roof does not mean that they will care for each other and share their resources.

The women living in that housing community don’t even know each other. According to the woman who runs it, they all provide for themselves and even use separate fridges. It is clear that new regulations need to be put in place and adjustments to the law need to be made. In affluent state like Austria, there is no need for people to live on as little as 220 Euros a month.

Details from the story:

  • The needs-based minimum benefits system is supposed to support people in need and help them find work (again)
  • In addition to financial support it also includes full health insurance
  • The regulations that are being applied are different in every federation state within Austria, which could be considered problematic
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