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Woman refuses 'Sweden's smallest benefit payment'

TT/David Landes · 1 Oct 2009, 08:02

Published: 01 Oct 2009 08:02 GMT+02:00

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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.

Story continues below…

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.

TT/David Landes (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

10:23 October 1, 2009 by peropaco
How sick is this system. We cannot take care of our own yet we send millions of dollars to the Palestinian authority, corrupt regimes in Africa and the Middle East, we provide housing and financial allowance to people coming here under false pretext, etc etc. Now tell me, what the f"#*ck can someone buy with 50 ore? Lest say the poor ol woman had the hankering for some succulent cat food? With 50 ore per month she would have to save up for almost three years. Disgusting!
10:26 October 1, 2009 by seekingtruth
If she saves that benefit for a year she may eventually have enough to buy herself a post stamp and write a complaint to Försäkringskassan!
10:36 October 1, 2009 by peropaco
But wath about the cost for the envelope. Another year? :-(
10:54 October 1, 2009 by dockmandock
Peropaco, I think you misunderstood the story. The 50 öre isn't her sole income; it's a top up taking into account her income(s), that's why it works out at this sum. She doesn't have to live off 50 öre.
11:29 October 1, 2009 by jimmyjames
I understand that the women probably received a pension or has other forms of income that only allows for her to receive the amount mentioned. The true story here is that of a robotic bureaucracy that would spend 10's of thousands of krona to cut a check for the 50 ore...."rules are rules...". This is a global problem with ALL governments. It would be laughable if it were not so pathetic.
12:12 October 1, 2009 by foxpur
Yea, then you get a payment like mine - 1000 Kronor a month. (Disability), still not enough to live on.
12:39 October 1, 2009 by rayan05
System is not only sick, it works over the people. In Sweden everything is sooo..systematic. People don't need to think. Just follow the system. Even it doesn't make any sense.
12:44 October 1, 2009 by Gwrhyr
As Sofia "drug is drugs" Modigh would say: "No! No, no, no, no, no! Just no!" (When it comes to anything making sense in this country).
15:57 October 1, 2009 by glamelixir
Rayan05. That is sooo true.

I have countless cases of Swedes being unable to use common sense. Sweden has made them individualistic but also dependable.

I always tell my husband he wouldn't survive the jungle of a real big city.
16:02 October 1, 2009 by jag2009
I agree with Rayan05 and glamelixir
16:18 October 1, 2009 by ironman294
they probably give jihadist immigrants in sweden thousands of kronor each month but only give this woman 50 ore? How shameful and stupid beauracracy is
18:03 October 1, 2009 by mkvgtired
12:39 October 1, 2009 by rayan05

System is not only sick, it works over the people. In Sweden everything is sooo..systematic. People don't need to think. Just follow the system. Even it doesn't make any sense.

That is ANY government bureaucracy. Sweden is one of the least wasteful in the world (least corrupt) and you still have this extreme waste. Any government managed program WILL go over budget, and will cost more because of the fact they usually enjoy a legislated monopoly. Government is not the answer it is the problem.

A joke about government employees:

Question: "How many American governmental employees does it take to screw in a light bulb?"

Answer: "Five, One to screw in the bulb and four to fill out the environmental impact and OSHA (occupational hazard) reports."
23:34 October 1, 2009 by delusion1982
I honestly do not see anything wrong with the system in this case. @ironman, for god sake read the story before starting to through ignorance here and there!

Sweden indeed is one of the most automated countries in the world, and there is nothing wrong with that, so the woman got 50 öre, the system automatically forwards that to her, what a big deal.

If you want employees to come and intervene and inspect such things it would cost a hell lot more to pay for their time.

There is nothing wrong with automation, and whenever the goverment feels that there is a better solution, they will introduce it to the system!

Get over it and stop attacking Sweden for every small detail, and let people do their job, we probably alwyas look at things from a very narrow perspective.

Swedes also as I know them are capable of dealing with problems. I found that the elderlies who were introduced to "technology" later in their lives are in a way handicapped in dealing with it , but young Swedes are -in general- very educated, flexible, and bureaucracy haters.
00:48 October 2, 2009 by azertyuiop
not really interested in that topic! i just miss my girlfriend soooo much and thought it might be nice to shout in a public forum, i cant keep it for myself anymore :) if i could, i would have written it on the big headlines!!!! :)
01:37 October 2, 2009 by absolut
Dear delusion 1982,

You say that "there is nothing wrong with automation". I'll tell you why it's wrong: because it makes people switch off and get detached. You get emotionless because you don't have to think, so you don't emphatize with other people. And empathy is very important, it enables you to understand how others feel. Just go back a few years and look what happened in Germany during the war. Talking about automation!! Is that what you want, a nation of emotionless robots. I think you should think very hard about this one. Either you are very young or very stupid.
13:01 October 2, 2009 by delusion1982
Absolut, you better go to one of the "emotionful" third world countries and live their, and feel free to empathize as much as you want, "while you do that, enjoy a big bit of corruption, chaos, disrespect, and human error". The problem is not in the automation, the problem is in your head. Automation gives you more time to socialize with people than solving stupid problems. So you do that instead of becoming an emotionless robot, that is in any case your sole choice.
16:41 October 2, 2009 by tadchem
The problem with bureaucracy is that it makes adherence to arbitrary "rules" the norm in lieu of "common sense."

More often than not, the rules were established by those with no understanding of the particulars of a given situation, and no interest in the outcome.

Thus "fairness" evolves into authoritarian injustice.
14:46 October 3, 2009 by here for the summer
without the details there's no way to understand the real situation.
10:48 October 7, 2009 by Petro Pharo
Well it seems there is not one country that is perfect, is it? Or fair in every sense of the word.
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