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Disabled parents battle child benefit clawback

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12:14 CEST+02:00
Swiss advocates for people with disabilities are slamming proposed cuts to social benefits for the children of disabled parents.

The cuts to disability insurance, backed by the senate and a parliamentary committee of the lower house of parliament, would save 120 million francs ($126 million) a year.

Pro Infirmis, a support group for disabled people, branded the clawback as “anti-family”.

The cuts would reduce benefits to 60,000 parents, indirectly affecting 96,000 children.

Currently, a disabled parent in Switzerland is entitled to receive a 40 percent bonus to his or her own disability insurance benefits per child.

The proposed reductions would reduce this amount to 30 percent.

Politicians say this remains generous by international standards and in most cases the children can benefit from family allowances and other aid.
   
But Pro Infirmis said the cuts were “incomprehensible”, especially given that the disability insurance scheme’s financial situation is improving.

“No child should be financially punished by the disability of one of his parents, above all by the state,” the group said in a statement issued on Monday.

The group fears a dismantling of the benefit system which risks plunging some families into poverty.

It notes that disabled parents face higher day-to-day living costs for such needs as special equipment and facilities.

The proposed cuts are “unnecessary, unjust and anti-social,” Xavier Meyer, spokesman for Procap, another support group, told Le Matin.

Advocates for people with disabilities say they will mount a referendum challenge if the lower house of parliament adopts the benefit reductions.

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