Children over the age of one and a half will lose their cash benefits. But the Minister for Children and Families can not say anything about when it will happen.
In October last year, it was announced that the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party will tighten the current cash support scheme. When that will happen, however, is unclear.
This is because the support will be replaced by a waiting support for children between one and a half and two years. Parents of children in this age group can now receive cash benefits. But the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party agree that they should only get what the parties call a «toddler support».
The condition for getting this is that they are waiting for a kindergarten place they have applied for, but have not yet received.
When the Labor-SP government in the beginning of November last year presented its proposal for state budget for this year, the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs wrote that the government is investigating “replacing the cash benefit for children between 18 and 24 months with a toddler benefit for those who have applied for, but not received, a daycare place.”
Aftenposten has asked the ministry how far it has come with the case, and whether it is an internal or external report.
– Some clarifications that must be made
– I have started a study of early childhood support in the Ministry of Children and Family Affairs, Minister Kjersti Toppe states.
– There are a number of clarifications that must be made, because there is a new type of support to be introduced, she continues.
She points out that criteria must be developed and a framework for the support proposed.
When asked if she expects the change to be proposed in the budget for 2023, she answers as follows:
– It is too early to say when the report and any proposals for legislative changes will be available. But I would like to emphasize that this is a work that is prioritized by the ministry. A proposal will be put forward as soon as practicable, she says.
A restructuring of the cash benefit will require a change in the law. And such should normally be sent out for consultation. The consultation deadline shall normally be three months and not less than six weeks.
The restructuring – a compromise
The restructuring of cash benefits is a result of a compromise between the Labor Party and the Socialist People’s Party in the government negotiations.
The Labor Party has stated in the program that they will remove all the cash support and only have one waiting support, while the Socialist Party wants to keep it. However, Sp has wanted a scheme that is more targeted at the very youngest one-year-olds.
Last time the Social Democrats and the Labor Party ruled together, they also changed their support. At that time, they chose to give more in support to children aged one to one and a half years and a little less to children between one and a half and two.
That model was removed by the Solberg government, which reintroduced the same amount to everyone.
Makes a tightening in August
With the current scheme, children between one and two years (23 months) receive NOK 7,500 a month in cash support. The support can be given for 11 months per. children. To get full support, you can not use a publicly supported kindergarten offer.
Although the government’s announced change takes time, the government has tightened a little already this year.
According to current regulations, support can be given up to and including the month the child turns 23 or even the month the child starts kindergarten.
The government wants to prevent parents from receiving both a publicly subsidized daycare offer and cash support in the same month for the same child. Therefore, it is changing the scheme so that from 1 August 2022, no cash benefit will be granted in the month the child starts kindergarten. This could lead to a saving of just over NOK 100 million this year.
Fewer and fewer people use the support
What the government will be able to save on reorganizing the support is unclear. However, the proportion of children receiving the support has fallen sharply in recent years. The same applies to the costs of the scheme.
And many already use the support as a kind of waiting support, ie while waiting for a kindergarten place.
At the end of September last year, just under 9,000 people received cash benefits. That is 10 per cent less than in September the year before.
And according to Nav, this is the lowest number of recipients of cash benefits ever.
Down by 3,000 last decade
Over the last ten years, the number of recipients of the support has decreased by more than 3,000 people. This corresponds to a reduction of a quarter.
The number of people receiving cash benefits varies from month to month. September is the month of the year with the lowest number of recipients. This is because those who can receive cash benefits in September are entitled to a kindergarten place in August.