New fund for sick jobseekers receives approval in Belgium

New fund for sick jobseekers receives approval in Belgium

A special allowance for Jobseekers with serious MMPP — medical, mental, psychological or psychiatric problems — has been approved by Government, announced Minister of Employment Kris Peeters. They will benefit from backup allowances for a period of two years renewable. 

Some 5,000 people are in this category: they do not qualify for sickness benefit and are hindered significantly in their job-seeking. In 2016, unions had challenged the Minister to find a solution. 

The previous government limited the unemployment pay to three years. Most "MMPP" benefit from this allowance. In 2017, the right to this benefit was extended until the end of 2019. After this date, a structural solution must be found. 

"We are not abandoning these people and we support them in their search for employment," Peeters said on Wednesday to job-seekers’ delegation assisted by the CSC (Christian Union Confederation). 

Even if they are active in their search for a job and benefit from training and internships, they still risk losing their unemployment allowance, several explained at the meeting.

A solution has been developed in consultation with the regions. After three years, these persons can be attributed special "MMPP" status by a regional employment service (FOREM, Actiris, VDAB) on the basis of the "International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health"(ICF). 

ICF is an international scientific tool that allows estimating where people stand with regard to employment and how they progress. 

The status is granted for two years, renewable after inspection, and is accompanied by the appropriate support. It places the job-applicant in a situation of “passive availability” on the labour market. 

During this period, the person is entitled to a backup allowance of the same amount as unemployment. If he becomes available on the labour market, he can receive the allowance for up to two years, to allow him to find work. 

The new status will be implemented as of 1 July, with a transition period until the end of the year.

The Brussels Times

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