4.6 Access to quality services
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The Family Housing Support Program [Családi Otthonteremtési Kedvezmény ('CSOK')] addresses young (married) couples and it aims to ease the problems of Hungary regarding the decline in population.
Changes in the Family Housing Support Program
In 2009 an interest subsidy replaced the former housing support. With this support, the Government addressed young people under the age of 35 who were building, buying or renovating a house. [12/2001. (I. 31.) Korm. rend.] In 2012, a similar but new system was introduced, but it was not a success, as the support could only be used to buy a new flat or build a new house and it was only available to families with at least two children. Due to the strict rules, only 1 638 families applied for this support in the three years it was available.
The support system was transformed into the current system in 2015. It is called the Family Housing Support Programme (in Hungarian: Családi Otthonteremtési Kedvezmény – CSOK). The conditions are more favourable, as the subsidy can also be used for the purchase of a used property or the extension of an existing property. Besides, families with one child can also have access to it. [16/2016. (II. 10.) Korm. rend. and 17/2016. (II. 10.) Korm. rend.]
The rules of applying for the Family Housing Support Programme [Családi Otthonteremtési Kedvezmény ('CSOK')] changed in 2018. Starting this date, families can apply easier, and for a larger amount of loan as part of the support. (Jelzalog.com) Nevertheless, it is still not a measure aiming social inclusion, as it needs a big investment from the family, which people in need cannot afford.
From 1 July 2019, the government broadened the Housing Support Programme. The conditions are more favourable than before: in several cases, a soft loan can be used. The government also introduced a new form, for those who live in villages which is available in nearly 2500 disadvantaged small town or peripheral villages until 31 December 2024 ('Falusi CSOK feltételei, települések 2023').
Since 2010, Hungarian social policy has aimed less at protecting vulnerable groups. Instead, measures support self-care and limited state involvement. (Szikra, 2014) Social policies targeting young people are mainly related to employment issues, job creation and family support and child protection systems. (For more information, please see chapter 3. Employment and Entrepreneurship.)
Discount on school meals is available for children in crèches, nursery schools and public education institutions. This benefit covers 50% or 100% of the price of school meals. Eligibility for this benefit is reviewed according to need. The prerequisite for application is the submission of an income declaration. Since 2016, it has been the responsibility of the municipalities to regularly distribute free meals for disadvantaged and multiply disadvantaged children during school holidays when crèches, kindergartens and primary schools are closed ('A gyermekétkeztetés szabályozása').
Previously, the Hungarian Government provided textbooks free of charge to schoolchildren who are or live in tough conditions. From September 2020, it is free for all students in public education and vocational training according to the amendment of Act CXC of 2011 on National Public Education (2011. évi CXC. törvény a nemzeti köznevelésről). This measure costs EUR 38.2 million (HUF 13.8 billion) in 2020.
In Hungary, based on the Act CLIV of 1997 on Health
'Each patient shall have a right, within the frameworks provided by law, to appropriate and continuously accessible health care justified by his health condition, without any discrimination. […] The objective of youth health care is to promote the balanced physical and emotional development of minors.'
Hungarian healthcare is free to all which ensured by the law. It is partly financed by the health insurance contributions which are tax-based. Children up to 16 years are eligible for the provisions, just like young people who are enrolled in full-time education.
The National Health Insurance Fund
'The NEAK, as a central agency, performs the functions set out in legislation, carries out the tasks relating to the management of the National Health Insurance Fund (in Hungarian NEAK), the maintenance of records, keeping financial accounts and fulfilling the reporting obligation.
The National Health Insurance Fund is supervised by the Government of Hungary, the central official organ of health insurance is managed by the Government through the Minister of Human Resources.'
Special healthcare services provided for young people to foster inclusion
There are no special healthcare services provided for young people that promote inclusion.
Regular child protection benefit
Regular child protection benefit is provided upon needs, based on an income test. For those eligible, other benefits are also offered, such as 50% or 100% reimbursement of the cost of school meals. For young people pursuing full-time higher education, a regular child protection benefit can also be paid after reaching the age of majority until the age of 25. The monthly amount of the benefit (about EUR 21; HUF 8 400) is 22% of the current old-age pension and can be provided per child ('Rendszeres gyermekvédelmi kedvezmény').
Exceptional child protection benefit
Exceptional child protection benefit is a form of financial support for individuals with children who are in an exceptional life situation or crisis, or for young people who have reached the age of majority and are living separately from their parents, but are facing existential difficulties or whose livelihood is at risk. It is granted when needed and is based on an income assessment. The municipalities decide on the granting of this benefit. ('Rendkívüli gyermekvédelmi támogatás')
Biological, adopted or foster children of the deceased are entitled to orphans' allowance, as well as siblings and grandchildren in the same household if they were dependent on the deceased and there is no relative who is obliged and able to provide maintenance for them. The orphan's allowance may be received if the deceased was an old-age pensioner or if he/she fulfilled the necessary obligations to receive the benefits of the living parents until his/her death. The allowance is paid up to the age of 16. If a young person is pursuing full-time higher education, the orphan's allowance may also be paid after reaching the age of majority up to the age of 25 ('Árvaellátás').
Young people with reduced capacity to work are entitled to this benefit without age limit. As of 2022, the minimum amount of the orphan's benefit is about EUR 133 (HUF 50 000), but the exact amount calculated is 30% of the old-age pension the deceased was receiving at the time of death. The support is doubled for those who have lost both parents or whose living single parent has a reduced capacity to work.
Bursa Hungarica Higher Education Municipal Scholarship System
Bursa Hungarica Higher Education Municipal Scholarship System operates since the school year 2000/2001. It supports the studies of socially disadvantaged young people. Being enrolled in full-time higher education studies is a prerequisite. It is funded through an allocation by the Ministry for Culture and Innovation in the budget of municipalities, regional authorities and higher education institutions (Bursa Hungarica).
In the 2018/2019 academic school year 19 008 students received the support. 2020 Follow up report on National Social Inclusion Strategy (MNTFS 2020 nyomonkövetési jelentés)]
Baby waiting support for young married couples
The Hungarian state provides many discounts for young couples. One of these is the 'Baby waiting support'. Beginning 1 July, 2019, baby waiting support for young married couples is available in the amount of a maximum of HUF 10 million (about 30 000 EUR) one-time loan. The wife must be at least 18 years old, and cannot be older than 40 years, also, it must be her first marriage. [44/2019. (III. 12.) Korm. rendelet a babaváró támogatásról]
The loan has several benefits:
- for the first baby born, the couple does not have to pay the loan repayments for 3 years;
- for the second baby born, the total amount of money to be paid back is reduced by 30%, and the loan repayments get paused for 3 years;
- if a third child is born, the couple does not have to pay back the part remaining from the loan.
The 'Baby waiting support' for young married couples is available until the end of the year 2024. Basically, this is not an inclusive financial service; the main aim is to support population policy. ('Babaváró támogatás') (For more information please see sub-chapter 1.4 Youth policy decision-making.)
Tax exemption for young people
In 2021, one main youth related provision was the personal income tax exemption under 25 years from January 2022. The measure costs EUR 325 - 375 million (HUF 130-150 billion) annually.
Monitoring is done mainly through statistics, aggregation of the number of users and their data. These data are usually internally used.