Government to increase social security benefit for long-term unemployed

Jobless with two or more dependents to receive 450 euros, up from 399

The Spanish Cabinet on Friday will approve an increase in the social security payment for people who are out of work and are no longer entitled to unemployment benefits, government sources said Tuesday. If they have at least two members of their family - apart from their spouse - who are financially dependent on them they will now receive 450 euros, up from 399.

The increase is included in a reform of the so-called Plan Prepara program, which was introduced by former Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero. The scheme will also step up efforts to get the long-term unemployed back to work through retraining, and will be implemented using increased collaboration with the regions.

“The government wants to make it clear that nobody who is really in need should find themselves destitute,” Labor Minister Fátima Báñez said after a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Soraya Sáenz de Santamaría, Finance Minister Cristóbal Montoro and Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s economic advisor Álvaro Nadal.

Nadal said the plan “will improve the employability of its beneficiaries with a view to getting them back into the labor market.”

The Spanish economy has slipped back into recession for the second time in three years, leaving a quarter of the country’s workforce out of a job. According to Labor Ministry figures, official jobless claims in July amounted to 4.507 million, although only two-thirds of those out of work are entitled to unemployment benefits, which are paid out for a maximum of two years. The National Statistics Institute has estimated that the number of households where all members are out of work stood at 1.737 million at the end of June.

It was not clear whether the government would take on board suggestions from top-ranking Popular Party members on whether those who receive the social security benefit of 400 euros and who live with their parents, regardless of the latter’s financial means, should continue to do so.

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