With local quarantine introduced in 21 Lithuanian municipalities this week, self-employed people can apply for special benefits. However, the government wants to limit who can get the payouts.
Monthly payouts of 257 euros for all self-employed workers were introduced after Lithuania introduced a nation-wide quarantine last March in order to protect people’s incomes.
This time, however, the government argues that the quarantine does not involve as many restrictions on economic activity, therefore the benefit should be accessible only to those who can show their incomes were affected.
Under the proposal, which still has to be approved in the parliament, only those working in the areas directly affected by the quarantine restrictions would have access to the payouts. The Tax Inspectorate (VMI) would decide who is eligible.
Moreover, the 257 euros per month would be discontinued once the quarantine is lifted, not two months after that, as was the case before.
“In the current law, the benefits are conditioned on the introduction of quarantine alone, not any actual restrictions on economic activities. Since the government has not introduced any restrictions on activities, it wouldn’t make sense to offer the benefits, since people can continue to be self-employed and get income,” said Eglė Samoškaitė, a spokeswoman for the Ministry of Social Security and Labour.
During the first quarantine in March–June, some 78,000 self-employed people applied for the benefits.