Poland to set up Solidarity Fund to support disabled

Finance and family ministers, Teresa Czerwińska and Elżbieta Rafalska Bartłomiej Zborowski/PAP

Poland will establish a Solidarity Support Fund for Disabled People, finance and family ministers, Teresa Czerwińska and Elżbieta Rafalska, announced on Tuesday. Among other sources, the fund will be financed by a new tax on high earners.

"Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki's government has kept its word. Today we want to present a package of solutions, a roadmap of how to achieve better standards of living for disabled people in our country," government spokeswoman Joanna Kopcińska said after a cabinet meeting.

The new contribution will be paid by Poles with personal annual income above PLN 1 million (EUR 234,000). "The levy will amount to 4 percent of the surplus above PLN 1 million," Minister Czerwińska said.

The solidarity levy is seen generating PLN 1.15 billion (EUR 269 mln) of the estimated PLN 2 billion (EUR 467 mln) total income of the Solidarity Support Fund next year, Czerwińska added.

It will be paid for the first time on income earned in 2019. The taxpayer will pay their first levy in 2020. According to Finance Ministry estimates, about 25,000 people will be covered by the "solidarity tax."

The Solidarity Support Fund will be also financed with 0.15 percent of the labour fund contribution, according to Czerwińska. In this case, the Ministry of Finance estimates the income at approximately PLN 650 million (EUR 152 mln) annually.

Currently, the labour fund contribution amounts to 2.45 percent of the employee's gross wage and is paid by the employer.

Minister Rafalska said that from 2020 the Solidarity Fund will "support the most urgent needs of disabled people and their families." The ministry is also to run consultations to determine which solutions have the highest priority.

The carers of the disabled, who have been protesting in the Sejm (lower house) building since April 18, have not been enthusiastic about the government's latest proposal as they demand immediate cash solutions.

Apart from raising financial aid for the disabled to the level of the minimum work disability pension, a demand that has been met in a recently passed law, the protesters are demanding a special PLN 500 (EUR 118) benefit payment for disabled people over 18 years of age who are incapable of independent living.

In early May, the protesters put forward a compromise solution on how to achieve the PLN 500 'bonus for life' monthly payment. They say the goal could be reached over three phases, starting from PLN 250 (EUR 59) this September, with PLN 125 (EUR 29.5) being added from January 2019 and another PLN 125 from January 2020.