Only 15 pct of eligible children in Germany benefit from gov't welfare program

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BERLIN, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Less than 15 percent of eligible minors in Germany have recently benefited from the government's welfare program, according to a study published by the German umbrella welfare association Paritaetische Wohlfahrtsverband on Tuesday.

The benefits for eligible minors were "simply not suitable for tackling child poverty," the study noted and criticized the complicated application procedures which were required to receive the payments.

Compared to the previous year, the figures had not changed and were "devastating", according to the study by one of the six central associations for free welfare work in Germany.

Although the education and participation package for minors who were economically disadvantaged was introduced eight years, at least 85 percent of the beneficiaries between six and fifteen years were not receiving the government support.

"The aim is to create offers for all children and young people that promote their development," said Ulrich Schneider, CEO of the Paritaetische welfare association.

As part of the welfare program, eligible children in Germany can apply for 15 euros (16.48 U.S. dollars) per month in order to attend a sports club, to take part in leisure activities or for music lessons.

The welfare association demanded to abolish the current subsidies for education and participation in Germany and to add the money to a guaranteed basic payment for children, depending on the parents' income.

In November, the Federal Minister for Labor and Social Affairs Hubertus Heil (SPD) is seeking to increase the amount of welfare payments to children, currently ranging from 245 to 322 euros, by around 5 euros.

"If prices and wages change, this must also be reflected in the benefit rates for recipients of basic social security and social assistance", said Heil in September. Enditem

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