The Malta Independent 30 May 2020, Saturday

€10.25 million in COVID-19 social benefits; 10,692 applications

Giulia Magri Thursday, 21 May 2020, 13:13 Last update: about 7 days ago

The government has paid €10.25 million in social security contributions as part of the four schemes that the Social Security Ministry has introduced due to COVID-19 pandemic.

The announcement came during the weekly press conference given by the Family and Social Solidarity Ministry regarding the payments to those who have been impacted by the virus.

The benefits offered by the Ministry for Family and Social Solidarity cover four schemes. Those schemes include helping people who are unable to report for work, working from home due to medial conditions, or disabilities which make them vulnerable to COVID-19, as well as parents who stopped working in order to take care of their children.

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These benefits include gross payment of €800 per month for full-time employees and a gross salary of €500 per month for part-timers. 10% of these benefits are being withheld from the ministry in order to be used for other Social Security contributions.

Permanent Secretary Mark Musu highlighted that as of yesterday, there has been a total of 10,692 applications for the schemes, and 98.9% of the applications have been processed. Overall, a total of €10.25 million has been forked out for social security schemes.

Musu also pointed out that the number of people who have found a job and stopped receiving benefits has gone up to 488.

29% of beneficiaries are male, whilst 71% are females; whilst 82.5% are Maltese and 17.5% are foreigners.

Since March, the Ministry has received 64,122 emails on the email address [email protected], of which 63,611 have been settled. Social Security helpline received over 17,330 telephone calls and helpline 25903030, which is for the elderly has received 9,668 calls.

The 1772 Appogg helpline received 3,100 telephone calls. At Saint Vincent De Paul home, over 7,450 Skype calls took place for residents to keep in touch with family members, whilst in other government elderly homes, 1,650 Skypecalls were made.

Minister Michael Falzon said that whilst services have been weel received, he is aware that the number of people asking for help is increasing. “We will continue doing our hard work and continue helping all those people, families who are reaching out.”

This newsroom asked whether the Ministry is looking into relaxing measures for elderly or children’s homes, Falzon said that the Ministry is looking into the necessary measures and constantly in discussion with the Health Authorities to see when such homes can open once more.  When asked whether the number of applications is up to what the Ministry predicted, Falzon said that at the start it was all “unknown.” “It is hard to predict such numbers, but so far we are managing. Of course, I am happy to see certain numbers decreasing and I am proud that our Ministry is working hard to help such people.”

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