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Public welfare watchdog: Benefits covering fewer expenses than ever

A growing number of pensioners in Finland are turning to income subsidies to make ends meet, according to THL researcher Susanna Mukkila.

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Persons in Finland receiving social benefits find that they don’t stretch as far as they used to, according to a new report by the country's National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL).

In a report released Tuesday, the public welfare watchdog attributed the declining purchasing power of social benefits to rising prices combined with a freeze on index increases to benefits.

In 2015, the government decided to freeze index increases on basic social benefits and housing support payments.

As a result of weaker social benefits, more people are turning to income support for relief, THL noted.

“Repeat freezes gradually erode the level of basic social security. A growing number will need income support in their retirement,” THL researcher Susanna Mukkila said in a statement Tuesday.

The agency pointed out that more people are using income support to help pay for accommodation expenses, because rent ceilings for housing benefits have been capped. Although rents have risen, the ceiling for housing support has not been revised for three years, the organization added.

The findings are based on an assessment of the impact of the government’s 2018 budget on social benefits.

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