Easter Benefit for Pensioners
The Easter benefit for low income pensioners is administrated by the Grants and Benefits Service of the Ministry of Finance under the Plan for Supporting Pensioners with Low Income.
What Are the Eligibility Conditions for Easter Benefit?
The beneficiaries of this allowance are households with income below the poverty line, based in the Republic of Cyprus, with at least one pensioner regardless of her / his age who receives any of the following benefits:
- pension from the Social Insurance Fund;
- social pension;
- pension under any occupational pension scheme in Cyprus.
A household is deemed to be ordinarily resident in the Republic of Cyprus, if all his members have been living in Cyprus for at least one year before the application is submitted, provided that during this period they were not absent from Cyprus for a continuous period longer than three months.
In order to qualify for Easter benefit a low income household with at least one pensioner must have all its members residing under the same roof and include the following categories of people:
- one pensioner;
- her / his spouse or partner;
- unmarried children under the age of 18;
- unmarried dependant children aged between 18 and 23 years old who are pupils or students;
- unmarried dependant boys aged between 18 and 25 years old serving their military service in the National Guard;
- unmarried boys dependent students aged between 23 and 25 years old if they have served in the National Guard;
- unmarried dependent children who have a permanent disability and cannot support themselves, regardless of their age.
If both spouses are retired but one lives in a retirement home or centre, are considered as separate households and should submit separate applications.
Separate households are also considered those spouses who are both in nursing homes and the orphans who are residing in foster families or Foundation, regardless of their age. The orphans who are living together under the same roof or with a parent are considered as one household.
What Is the Poverty Line Income?
One of the conditions for Easter benefit is that the annual income of a household to be below the poverty line. The poverty line amount is established by law and is adjusted every year.
A household’s income for a given year is including the annual income of all the household members as follows:
- pensions from any sources, in Cyprus and abroad;
- any existing special allowance granted to retirees;
- the Easter bonus given to the household workers;
- any income from rent, deposit interest or dividends.
For example in 2011 the poverty line was considered as follows:
|Household Members||Household Annual Income||Household Monthly Income|
|A pensioner||€ 11.149,00||€ 858|
|Two persons over 14 years (including pensioners)||€ 16.724,00||€ 1.286|
|Three people over 14 years (including pensioners)||€ 22.298,00||€ 1.715|
|A pensioner with a minor under 14 years||€ 14.494,00||€ 1.115|
|Two persons over 14 years (including pensioners) and a minor under 14 years||€ 20.068,00||€ 1.544|
|Two persons over 14 years (including pensioners) and two minors under 14 years||€ 23.413,00||€ 1.801|
How Can the Low Income Pensioners Access the Easter Benefit?
To obtain Easter benefit low income households must apply every year between September and November if they have at least one person under 70 years old. Only if both spouses are over 70 years old and have already applied for Easter benefit during the previous two years, they do not need to submit a new application. The application must include a special application form and the following documents:
- the employed family members must include a certificate from their employer or a copy of their insurance accounts from the Social Insurance Services Department for the previous year;
- the foreign pensioners must include an evidence from the relevant organisations / institutions abroad that indicates the amount of pension received.
The following certificates are only required if the claimant applies for the first time to the Grants and Benefits Service of the Ministry of Finance:
- a copy of the identity card (both sides) or a copy of Alien Card (yellow slip/ residence permit) from the Civil Registry and Migration Department, for all household members;
- copies of the birth certificates in case the applicant has children who do not hold Cypriot identity cards;
- a school attendance certificate if the children are students;
- the relevant medical certificates for the unmarried dependants who are permanently incapable of self-support;
- a statement of the International Bank Account Number (IBAN) signed and stamped by the applicant’s bank, with the full details of the applicant’s bank account where the transfer will be made.
The Grants and Benefits Service may, where appropriate, request additional documents for the examination of the application.
The application must be submitted by the concerned pensioners. When a household have two pensioners only one application must be submitted.
Newly retirees must submit their request no later than three months from the month they receive their first pension. For late applications, the entitlement to Easter benefit will not extend beyond three months from the month in which the application is submitted. The entitlement right will not commence before the 1st of January of the reported year or before the month in which the entitlement to Easter benefit is acquired, whichever is later.
If any family members become entitled to a pension within the same period of submitting the Easter allowance application, their annual income will be considered as all the earnings received until the pensionable age and the amount of pension received that year.
The applications can be submitted through any of these Government institutions:
- The Grants and Benefits Service of the Ministry of Finance on 6 Tefkrou Street, Nicosia, tel: 22 804000;
- The Service Office of the Ministry of Finance in Nicosia, tel: 22 601 623;
- Any Citizen Service Centres (CSC):
- Nicosia: Angle Kyriakos Matsis & Katsonis Saints Confessors, tel 22 446 686;
- Limassol: Spyros Araouzou 21 Tel: 25 829 129;
- Famagusta: Freedom 83 Derynia, tel 23 300300;
- Larnaca Ave Afxentiou 27 tel 24 815 555;
- Paphos: Eleftherios Venizelos 62 tel 26822400;
- Polis: Evagoras Pallikarides 1 tel 26 821 888;
- Pelendri: Archbishop Makarios III, 70 Tel: 25 813 400;
- By post at the following address: in attention of the Treasury Chief Executive of the Grants and Benefits Service of the Ministry of Finance, 1489 Nicosia
Low income households with at least one pensioner who receive Easter benefit must notify the Grants and Benefits Service in writing within one month, of any change in their family financial situation, address, bank account, or of any circumstances that may affect their right to receive the benefit. Failure to provide timely information may result in losing the benefit.
What is the Amount of Easter Benefit?
The Easter benefit amount is determined by taking into account the total household annual income and the number of members. The amount of household income along with the amount of the additional Easter benefit cannot exceed the poverty line.
The Easter benefit in 2012 was € 270 for low income households with one pensioner and € 540 for low income households with two pensioners, provided that the total annual income of the household members was less then € 13.390 for a pensioner household and less than € 20.085 for a household of two pensioners.