Wednesday, May 8, 2013

JDC Board meeting – Welfare in the FSU (former Soviet Union)

I participated in the JDC Board meetings this week (ok, I sat in the back … but I took notes) and wanted to write down some of the information on our work with elderly Nazi victims and non-Nazi victims in the FSU.

As of the end of 2012, we are giving food, medicine and home care, on a daily basis, to 71,303 Nazi victims and 78,902 non-Nazi victims.

As the Nazi victims age and pass, we don’t get the funding for them transferred to non-Nazi victims. The generous support is per victim, and specifically designated for each victim’s needs.

But we get some $1000 a year for each Nazi victim, compared to approximately $250 for each non-Nazi victim (funded by our Jewish federations and donors). And since the average age of Nazi victims is 78 and non-Nazi clients is 69, as we have more and more clients age through the system, the needs will increase (the older you get, the more expensive your needs – home care is more expensive than medicine, medicine is more expensive than food). 
And over the next few years, by definition all those entering the caseload will be non-Nazi victims, because they were born after the War.

The average pension for an elderly Jew in the FSU is $100. 

That’s about 10-15% below the poverty level. 
So, by the second, or third week in the month, you have to start choosing between food and medicine. Pensions in the FSU won't cover basic needs, which is one of the main reasons why life expectancy is too short.

In other words … it may get better in twenty years, or thirty years time, when the economies strengthen. 

But in the interim, it’s going to get much much worse.

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