The Norwegian government is implementing a “historic” increase in child benefits for families with children. We spoke to the Ministry of Children and Families to get all the details.
Introducing Norway’s child benefit system
The Ministry of Children and Families gave us the lowdown on child benefits in Norway:
“The child benefit is a monthly payment to families with children under the age of 18 and is meant to contribute to cover some of the expenses associated with having children, regardless of parental income.
Single parents are entitled to benefit for one more child than they actually have (extra benefit).
Cohabitants who have children together or have been living together for at least 12 of the last 18 months, are not entitled to the extra benefit.
Single parents who meet the conditions for extra benefit according to the Child Benefit Act and receive full transitional benefit according to the National Insurance Act and who care for one or more children under the age of three, are entitled to an additional infant benefit.
This additional infant benefit is granted per provider, regardless of how many children under the age of three he/she has. The additional infant benefit is NOK 7,920, i.e. NOK 660 per month.
With the increase in child benefits, we hope to improve living conditions for families with children, especially the families with lowest income.”
The reasons behind the decision
The Minister of Children and Families, Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, tells us:
“The increase in child benefits is a historic boost for families with children.
“In the Granavolden platform, we decided to increase the child benefit by NOK 7,200 a year for children from 0 to 6 years old. In the National budget for 2021 we have achieved this goal.”
Why is the Granavolden platform important here? “The Granavolden platform was formed by the Conservative Party, the Progress Party, the Liberal Party and the Christian Democratic Party in January 2019.
“This political platform describes how the Government will work to achieve their political goals. How far the parties will succeed depends on the economic situation and the funds available.
The platform sets several political goals on the area of responsibility for The Ministry of Children and Families”, the Ministry of Children and Families explains.
Minister Kjell Ingolf Ropstad continues, “This is important because a study from Statistics Norway shows that child benefit is the individual benefit that has the greatest significance in reducing the incidence of low income among families with children.
“The real value of the child benefit has been significantly reduced over time. From March 1, 2019, the government increased the ordinary child benefit from NOK 970 kroner to NOK 1,054 kroner a month, which was the first increase in child benefit since 1996.
“The increase in child benefit will benefit all children but is especially important for low-income families.
“The increase will also benefit social assistance recipients. The government guideline rates for municipal financial support for subsistence for the category children 0–5 years has therefore been increased corresponding to the increase in child benefit.”
Applies to families with children up to age 6
“Parents of young children often have shorter working experience and may, according to Statistics Norway, therefore have a weaker personal finance than parents with older children.
“Families with children have also a weaker long-time income development compared to households without children.
“For the older children (6-18 years old) the government are trying out a Leisure Activities Card designed to encourage participation of children and youngsters in activities.
“With this card kids can get up to NOK 1,000 twice a year to spend on one or more leisure activities.
“The goal of the card is to contribute to increased participation and inclusion”, Minister Kjell Ingolf Ropstad comments.
The increase will be NOK 300/month, or NOK 3600/year, from September 2021. “We also had the same increase from September 2020”, the Ministry of Children and Families notes.
The total price tag is around NOK 1.1 billion a year, but, as the Ministry of Children and Families explains, “That is the full year effect of the increase. The estimated cost in 2021 is around NOK 370 million.”
The length of the increase is not definite. “The Parliament decides the amount given in child benefits each year”, says the Ministry of Children and Families.
Little change in families’ day-to-day lives
The Ministry of Children and Families states, “The increase in the child benefit will not change the day-to-day lives of most Norwegian families significantly. However, for low-income families with many children the rise will have a more important impact.
“The increase in child benefit will benefit all children but is especially important for low-income families. The increase will also benefit social assistance recipients. The government guideline rates for municipal financial support for subsistence for the category children 0–5 years has therefore been increased corresponding to the increase in child benefit.
“The Government does not decide how families use the extra child benefits. It is up to the families to decide how the extra money can help to improve their lives. We hope to improve living conditions for the families with the lowest income.”
Source: Norway Today