Red-faced government officials have become a laughing stock after admitting they are paying a EUR 500 climate bonus to 18,000 dead people.
The payments – made in Austria this month – used out-of-date tax records which showed thousands of people who had died were still financially active.
Austria has been paying EUR 500 (GBP 439) to adults and EUR 250 (GBP 219) to children to battle the ongoing energy crisis since the start of September.
The ‘klimabonus’ – or climate bonus – was introduced to distribute to consumers some of the finances raised by a carbon tax on polluters.
But now red-faced Environment Ministry officials have admitted that around 18,000 dead people will get the cash boost too.
Spokeswoman Martina Stemmer said the aid is meant for people who are able to prove they were Austrian residents for at least six months.
But she astonished local media when she revealed that people who have died recently will also get the bonus and there is nothing officials can do to get it back.
Under local regulations relatives are not allowed to transfer the payment back, and are entitled to keep it, she explained.
She added: “It isn’t legally possible to recover them [the money]”.
The controversial governmental decision added fuel to the fire of controversy over the payments.
Liberal opposition party Neos criticised the mechanism calling it “a waste of taxpayer money which is ending up not only in the pockets of high earners but the dead as well”.
But Environment Minister Leonore Gewessler, 44, said on Twitter on 24th August: “The #climatebonus and anti-inflation bonus will come to people faster than originally planned.
“It will be paid out to everyone in September as early as September.”
However, she has not made any official statements concerning the current scenario.
Aside from the deceased, asylum seekers and imprisoned criminals were also entitled to the payment.
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Story By: Georgina Jadikovska, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
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