The bill that expands eligibility for a study grant for every child from first to 12th grade will go into effect on Monday.
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According to the bill, single-parent families, as well as families that are eligible for a subsistence benefit and that have more than four children, will receive a grant for 1,000 shekels for each child ages 6-18. The purpose of the grant is to help families purchase school supplies for the coming school year.
The law, introduced by MK Merav Ben Ari (Kulanu), makes about 70,000 additional pupils eligible for the grant. Until now only parents of children ages 6-14 in single-parent families and families eligible for a subsistence benefit were eligible. The new law expands this until the end of school at age 18. An additional 33 million shekels has been transferred to the National Insurance Institute budget for the grants.
“It’s inconceivable to think that children attending junior high and high schools can suddenly pay for books and other school supplies by themselves,” said Ran Melamed, deputy director of Yedid, the Association for Community Empowerment. “In the higher grades books and supplies cost more than in the lower grades.”
Ben Ari said, “This is an important, socially oriented bill that repairs an injustice of years when the grant ended in eighth grade. According to the NII statistics, this year the NII will allocate a study grant to 211,000 children of single-parent families and children from large families that receive a subsistence benefit. This year about 78,000 single-parent families will receive grants for about 135,000 children, and about 28,000 large families will receive them for about 76,000 children. The overall cost is 212 million shekels.
“Also, according to the statistics,” Ben Ari said, “13 percent of all the families with children in Israel are single-parent families. There are 142,000 families with 240,000 children, constituting 9 percent of all the children.”
Prof. Shlomo Mor Yosef, director general of the National Insurance Institute, welcomed the expansion of the number of children eligible for a grant to high school students. “The investment in education is the best investment, with a proven contribution to advancing the children and reducing the cycle of poverty. This grant sends a message of the NII’s social responsibility to the community of insurees.”