Text: Jaromír Andrýsek
The cost of living was skyrocketing in 2022. Inflation and rising energy prices are plaguing many households. The year 2023 will bring many legislative changes concerning state social support, material need assistance and pensions, for example. Let’s take a closer look at some of them.
A significant change in January is the increase in the subsistence minimum and the subsistence minimum by 5.2%. The aim is to broaden the range of persons eligible for state social support and aid in material distress and to increase these benefits. The subsistence minimum has thus risen to CZK 3 130 per month and the subsistence minimum to CZK 4 860 per month.
In the area of state social support, child benefits were increased by 30% across the board, which in practice means CZK 200. At the same time, in view of the above-mentioned increase in the subsistence minimum, the range of families entitled to this benefit will be expanded. For example, for a family of four with two children aged five and twelve, the income threshold is CZK 47 736 per month (This is net income. But if the wife is on parental allowance, for example, this also counts towards the income threshold). If the parents have a lower income, they are entitled to the benefit.
One of the most important benefits now available to help families and seniors with rising costs is the housing allowance, which is for people who spend more than 30% of their income on housing. The main adjustment is a change in the design of the standard housing cost, which will increase the benefit for people, particularly those in smaller households and in smaller towns and cities. The normative costs for households heating with solid fuels such as coal will also increase. The distribution into groups according to the number of household members is also changing. One- and two-person households will be merged into one category. This allows the allowance to be better targeted at smaller households. The amount of the allowance can be in the thousands of crowns per month in many cases. For example, a senior with a retirement pension of CZK 17 000 and the cost (including SIPO) of a rented flat of CZK 13 000 can receive CZK 7 900 per month from January.
In the area of material need, income from pupils’ and students’ work from practical teaching and practical training and income from employment will not be included in the countable income if it is the income of a dependent child. The new regulation should encourage dependent children to earn a legal income when they are not at school.
In the area of pensions, there has been an increase in pensions due to regular indexation and now also the so-called education allowance. This is an increase in the old-age pension for bringing up a child or children. A child is defined as one’s own child or an adopted child, but also as a child taken into care in lieu of parental care, so that a foster parent, for example, may also be entitled to an education allowance if he or she has cared for the child to the greatest extent possible for the prescribed period. The aim is to recognise the merits of carers. This is a fixed amount, which will be CZK 500 per month in 2023. In the case of raising more than one child, this amount is multiplied by the number of children. The vast majority of children should be granted childcare automatically without the need to apply.
These innovations represent only a part of the measures the state, or the government, is taking to respond to current social problems and are by no means a panacea for today’s difficult times. If a citizen needs and wants to solve his or her unfavourable social situation individually, he or she always has the possibility to take advantage of the help of civic counselling centres. An example of such a service is the Charity Counselling Centre for Financial and Legal Difficulties, which operates on the principles of free and anonymity. Clients are treated individually and their situation is always dealt with discreetly.
The counselling centre is located: at ul. Hrabinská 458/33, 737 01 Český Těšín and is open from Monday to Thursday, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., except Wednesdays, when it is open for appointments from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tel. 731 454 650, 734 796 858.