Over 2.6 million families in Poland benefit from the 500+ program. This is a very wide group of beneficiaries, so many Poles, receiving benefits and not, wonder what this money is being spent on …
Who is entitled to 500+?
The Family 500+ program is intended for Polish children. So much theory. And in practice? Money is transferred to parents, legal and actual guardians of children under 18 years of age. As a rule, the benefit is granted for the first, second and subsequent children until they are of legal age. In addition, no conditions are imposed, even the earnings of parents / guardians of children do not matter.
You can also apply for 500+ also for the first child, but here certain requirements must be met. For current information on how to get a first (or only) child benefit, see the government website.
Where to apply for 500+?
An application for a subsidy from the Family 500+ program can be submitted to the commune appropriate for the place of residence or via the Internet at empatia.mrpips.gov.pl, PUE ZUS and via electronic banking from the level of your own account profile.
The Conference of Financial Enterprises and the Institute of Economic Development of the Warsaw School of Economics conducted a survey among the beneficiaries of the 500+ program in the third quarter of 2017. On its basis, data was prepared presenting interesting changes in the allocation of additional funds.
Respondents most often declared that they spend 500+ on clothes and food (51.2% of respondents’ answers), education and additional activities for children (45.3%) and fees related to kindergarten or school (29.5%).
What is the money from 500+ going to?
These three have not changed, however, a significant shift in spending can be observed in 2018 compared to 2017 data: then the most was spent on food and clothing (42.6% of respondents’ answers), kindergarten or school fees (34.2%) and extra classes (32%) – exactly in that order.
However, it is difficult to judge whether this change results from the researchers reaching another group of respondents, in which there were mainly parents of older children (and thus did not have to spend money on kindergarten), or whether it is actual that the trends changed.
Significantly, in 2017 Poles from funds 500+ declared much more frequently spending on hobbies and entertainment than a year earlier (19.7% of answers vs 11.8% of responses), while the percentage of respondents responding that money goes to savings decreased (2017: 14.3%; 2016: 16.2%).