The state will put millions of extra shekels into a fund to subsidize drugs for Holocaust survivors in the coming year, Finance Minister Yair Lapid said Sunday.
According to Lapid, the Finance Ministry will pump another NIS 30 million ($8,591,065) into subsidizing drugs on a state-approved list of medicines. The move is expected to be implemented early in the second quarter of 2014.
The subsidy, a Finance Ministry statement said, is aimed at assisting survivors who currently are not eligible to receive benefits. In the past, the drug subsidy was only given to those receiving monthly benefits under state law or from the German government.
On Monday, the Health Ministry will publish its updated list of state-subsidized drugs for 2014.
The new subsidy will be delivered to Holocaust survivors who received a one-time compensation from Germany or from the Israeli Claims Conference, or any other foreign country.
Since the elections in January, the Finance Ministry has added close to NIS 600 million ($172 million) in Holocaust survivor benefits, the statement said.
In November, the Knesset passed in its first reading a bill to increase state benefits for Holocaust survivors.
The bill would amend the current Holocaust survivor benefit laws with the aim of both increasing the population eligible for grant benefits and increasing by NIS 600 ($169) the sum of the monthly pension for people who spent time in ghettos and concentration camps.
Earlier this year, the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel published a report that found that one in four Holocaust survivors lives below the poverty line, and 58% of those who requested financial assistance subsisted on NIS 3,000 a month (about $830).