MINISTER: RUSSIANS WILL HAVE RIGHT TO CHOOSE WHETHER TO USE BENEFITS OR GET CASH COMPENSATION

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MOSCOW, June 8 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian citizens will have the right to choose whether to use benefits or get a cash compensation, said Mikhail Zurabov, the health and social development minister, after a meeting with the United Russia deputies on Tuesday.

He pointed out that the benefits would be provided to the citizens within the framework of a "social package."

"Now we are discussing the amount of the cash compensations that would equal the current benefits, which means the amount sufficient for a person to form "a set of social services," explained the minister.

According to Mr. Zurabov, during the first, transitional, year the citizens will be provided with a compulsory set of social services including railroad travels, favorable pharmacological support and medical services. This being the case, the citizens will not be entitled to choose whether to get the full cash compensation or use the social benefits. Next year they will get this right.

For example, if a second category invalid is monthly entitled to 1,000 rubles as compensation, than during the first year he will be provided with a commuter ticket and an amount of 40 rubles will be withheld from the thousand. He will also have the right for free pharmacological support, and then additional 350 rubles will be held back from the compensation amount, explained Mr. Zurabov. According to him, such a 'minimal social package' costs 390 rubles.

Hence, during the first, transitional, year a citizen will get extra 610 rubles (remaining from the thousand minus the 'social package'). If this person does not want to use the 'social package' next year, he will get 1,000 rubles as compensation.

In this way, the citizens will have the option how to use the cash compensations, concluded the minister.

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