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Jul 2013 Journal

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Claims Conference reaches agreement with German Government

The Claims Conference has successfully negotiated an agreement with the German Government which, taken together with the amount previously agreed upon, will provide approximately $1 billion over the four-year-period 2014-17 for homecare for Jewish Nazi victims, with the annual amount increasing each year through 2017.

The amount the German Government will provide in 2015 - €205 million ($266 million) - is an increase of 45 per cent over 2014. It will also provide €210 million ($273 million) for 2016 and €215 million ($280 million) for 2017. The previously agreed amount for 2014 is approximately €142 million ($185 million), an increase of €12 million ($15 million) over 2013 funding. Thus, taken together, this historic agreement is a commitment of €772 million or approximately $1 billion for the years 2014-17. The German Government also committed to review annually the adequacy of these funding levels.

This unprecedented amount of funding means that victims of the Nazis around the world can obtain the aid they desperately need as they grow more frail. Further, the fact that the agreement encompasses funding through 2017 underscores the German Government’s ongoing commitment to Holocaust survivors. It is all the more impressive as it comes at a time of budget austerity in Germany.

As well as these successes, the Claims Conference reached several other significant agreements with the German Government. Resulting from the negotiations, the German Government agreed to expand the eligibility criteria of the Article 2 Fund as of 1 January 2014 for those Jews who lived under the conditions noted above. A list of 300 ‘open ghettos’ was agreed upon. The Claims Conference estimates that, as result, an additional 2,000-3,000 Holocaust survivors will become eligible for a compensation pension. This will mean increased funding by the German Government of some 7 to 11 million Euros per year. Applicants for monthly pensions from the Article 2 Fund are allowed a higher annual income ($25,000, previously $16,000) as of 1 July 2013 to meet the income eligibility requirement. This figure had not been changed since 1995 and will make many more people eligible for Article 2 Fund pensions.


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