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Woman refuses 'Sweden's smallest benefit payment'

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Woman refuses 'Sweden's smallest benefit payment'
08:02 CEST+02:00
A pensioner from western Sweden may have received the smallest benefit payment ever paid out by the country's social insurance agency (Försäkringskassan).

Ängelholm resident Gunnel Johansson receives a whopping 50 öre (7 cents) every month in support payments for low-income seniors (äldreförsörjningsstöd), the Helsingborgs Dagblad (HD) newspaper reports.

According to a description on the agency's website, the payments are meant to guarantee the elderly “a reasonable standard of living even if you have a low pension or no pension at all”.

The payment is so small that Försäkringskassan has taken the unusual step of paying Johansson every other month.

She finds the whole matter a bit embarrassing, not to mention degrading.

“It feels like I'm worth 50 öre,” she told the newspaper.

“And what must it cost to administer the payments?”

If she had her way, Johansson would stop receiving the nearly worthless payouts, but the social insurance agency has been adamant about continuing to provide the benefit – no matter how small.

“Rules are rules. There shouldn't be a lowest-level for maintenance support for the elderly, so even if it's only one krona, the payment is paid,” said the agency's Richard Wirenius to HD.

He promised, however, to see what he could do to stop the payments because formally speaking, the agency can't force people to accept money they don't want.

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