From the beginning of July, the state has been paying supplementary child benefits for families with children who live on income below a certain level, reports National Broadcasting. Deputy Mayor of Tartu Juri Kore estimated that the system of needs-based family benefits has not been launched with resounding success. In Tartu, for example, approximately 2,000 households are estimated to be entitled to apply for supplementary family benefits, but only 220 applications were received. There are a number of reasons for the slow launch. Firstly, people are not always aware of the possibility; secondly, the summer season is generally less active in terms of applying for benefits; and thirdly, a relatively insubstantial amount requires quite a lot of formalities to be met. “The amount offered to a family with one child, less than 10 euros, is a relatively modest sum, and the mechanism for submitting the application is not among the easiest,” said Kore. Minister of Social Affairs Taavi Roivas stated that it has been estimated that one in ten households eligible to receive the new benefit applied for it in June.
On July 4 the government approved a legislative amendment that will provide partial State guarantees to housing loans taken by members of the Defense Forces who take part in military missions, reports Postimees Online. In accordance to the veterans policy developed by the Ministry of Defense, veterans of the Defense Forces and of the Defense League who have taken part in international military operations or have been injured in the course of fulfilling their service duties will be added to the relevant regulation as an additional benefits group. According to the proposal, the foundation Kredex will guarantee housing loans for acquisition of dwellings or improving living conditions in the total amount of 20,000 euros to veterans.
The Public Health Development Plan’s results report demonstrates that while during the years 2009-2012, life expectancy improved, thus complying with the set objectives, healthy life expectancy in Estonia was lower than aimed for, reports National Broadcasting. Although the increase in the average life expectancy in Estonia has been the fastest among all EU countries in the past few years, and the country has risen to the fore among Baltic States in terms of this indicator, it is still below the majority of EU countries. The average life expectancy at birth in the EU is higher than in the case of Estonian residents – for women the difference is 2.1 years and for men it is 6.2 years. The healthy life years indicator rose quickly during the years 2006-2009, but since 2010 it has fallen and the 2012 objectives will not be met. In 2011, men born in Estonia had 53.9 healthy life years (the 2012 objective was 56) and for women it was 57.7 years (2012 objective was 60.5 years). In terms of healthy life years, the difference with the EU average is wider than the overall life expectancy.