Icelandic Child-Benefit System Criticized Skip to content

Icelandic Child-Benefit System Criticized

The Ombudsman for Children in Iceland Margrét María Sigurdardóttir has criticized the Icelandic child-benefit system for being unfair. If a child is born on January 1 the parents have to wait 13 months for benefits, but only 30 days if the child is born on December 31.

Gudrún Jónsdóttir, director of the administrational division of the Internal Revenue office, explained that child benefits are calculated according to how many children a tax payer has at the end of the year and thus no child benefits are paid during the actual year that the child is born, Fréttabladid reports.

Jónsdóttir said that parents who have to wait longer for receiving child benefits also receive them for a longer time than those who have a shorter waiting period. “This is the simplest system considering that child benefit payments are related to salaries.”

“Our system is different from the system in the other Nordic countries and in Europe,” Jónsdóttir added, explaining that in the Nordic countries child benefits are paid as soon the child has been registered in the national registry. But unlike Iceland, in those countries the benefits are not related to the salaries of parents.

Sigurdardóttir said that although the child-benefit system is connected to the salaries of parents it has to be fair. “I think it is important that authorities review these matters because we regularly receive complaints about this arrangement.”

Fréttabladid was unable to reach Minister of Social Affairs Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir and Minister of Finance Árni M. Mathiesen to comment on this story.

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