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Czech Republic: Photograph of "welfare" receipt circulating online is yet another fraud

Most, 12.11.2011 15:57, (ROMEA)

Yet another untrue report being circulated through the internet in the Czech language is a photograph of a receipt that allegedly proves that a woman living at the Chánov housing estate in the North Bohemian town of Most receives welfare in the amount of CZK 35 000 monthly. The text of the e-mail accompanying the image claims that this amount of state support is being drawn by Romani people.

The head of the Prague 2 welfare department, Aneta Helešicová, told news server Romea.cz that the receipt depicted cannot be for state welfare, because the payer listed is not the Czech Labor Office, but a municipal authority. "Given the 'round number' of this payment, it most probably concerns a contribution toward caregiving, and it could be that high because such benefits are paid retroactively. For example, an administrative proceedings on someone's case might be suspended while waiting for an evaluation of the recipient's state of health, and the benefit would then be paid several months later after the proceedings is completed," claims Helešicová. She believes it highly unlikely that the amount concerned would be an "aid in material distress" welfare benefit, because such benefits are never that large, are never rounded up to whole thousands, and are never paid retroactively.

Czech Radio contacted the Most town hall spokesperson, Alena Sedláčková, for comment. She said the receipt was not for a monthly welfare benefit. "The social affairs department in Most has never disbursed any welfare benefits in the amount of CZK 35 000 per month to anyone," Sedláčková claimed.

Such falsified news items and hoaxes in the Czech language are usually designed to "prove" that Romani people are abusing the welfare system or are being unfairly given some sort of advantage. More and more of this disinformation has been spreading recently. Examples of this "guaranteed" information are claims that Romani people do not have to work and receive higher pensions than others, or that they draw welfare without performing community service as required. "These are typical hoaxes designed to harm a particular group," Jozef Džubák, the administrator of the website hoax.cz, told Czech Radio.

Gwendolyn Albert, su, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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