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Unemployment benefit recipients up 37% this Jewish year

September 17, 2009. Haaretz: Haim Bior

Some 80,000 people have received unemployment benefits this Jewish calendar year, compared to just 60,000 last year, an increase of 37%, according to National Insurance Institute figures.

NII director Esther Dominissini says the sharp increase in recipients is a reflection of the wave of layoffs since the start of the economic crisis, encompassing all sectors of the economy - from high-tech and finance to traditional industries. The NII has paid a total of NIS 2.3 billion over the Jewish calendar year 5769, which ends tomorrow, compared to NIS 1.87 billion the year before - an increase of 22.5%, Dominissini reports.

The figures indicate there has also been in increase in the number of guaranteed income allowances provided to persons who have maxed out their unemployment benefits but failed to find employment, and whose dire financial condition meets NII's criteria. The decline in the number of recipients of guaranteed income allowances the country had seen in recent years, thanks to the booming economy, has been reversed: The number of recipients has grown consistently since the end of the first quarter of 5769. While in the year 5768 there were a total of 109,000 guaranteed income allowance recipients, the number has grown in 5769 to 113,600, an increase of 4%. While the NII paid out NIS 2.41 billion in guaranteed income allowances in 5768, this amount increased to NIS 2.45 billion this year.

The number of disability allowance recipients also rose this year. Some 197,300 received disability allowances this year, compared to 191,000 in 5768. This year the NII paid out a total of NIS 6.5 billion in disability benefits, compared to NIS 6.1 billion last year - an increase of 6.2%.

Old-age and beneficiary benefits have remained more or less unchanged this year. An average of 188,538 elderly persons received old-age stipends, compared to 189,690 last year. The slight decline is primarily a result of a decline in the number of elderly new immigrants eligible for the stipend. On the other hand, the number of elderly recipients who are not new immigrants increased this year by 2.7%. The NII paid NIS 3.61 billion in old-age and beneficiary stipends in 5769, while they year before it paid out NIS 3.56 billion.

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