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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 April 2019

Abu Dhabi launches social benefit scheme for low-income Emiratis

The program will offer housing support, free healthcare at private and government hospitals, and subsidies for food and services to eligible Emiratis

Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of Abu Dhabi's new Department of Community Development, said the new scheme was part of efforts from the emirate's leadership to provide a better lifestyle for Emiratis. Khushnum Bhandari / The National
Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, chairman of Abu Dhabi's new Department of Community Development, said the new scheme was part of efforts from the emirate's leadership to provide a better lifestyle for Emiratis. Khushnum Bhandari / The National

A social benefit scheme to support low income Emiratis living in Abu Dhabi was launched on Thursday.

The Abu Dhabi Social Support Programme is an income-based scheme that is managed by the emirate’s new Department of Community Development. It will offer housing support, free health care at private and government hospitals, and subsidies for food and services to eligible Emiratis.

The scheme is part of the objectives outlined in Ghadan 21, a Dh50 billion stimulus package and series of initiatives to improve the quality of life for Emiratis over the next three years.

"The leadership is keen to enhance the standard of living and decent life for all Emirati families in the Emirate,” said Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, head of the department.

“We are committed to supporting Emiratis with limited income in the emirate by helping them lead productive lives,” Dr Al Khalili previously told The National. “We want our citizens in Abu Dhabi to benefit from the advances made by our city.”

Financial support required for each family will be calculated based on the number of family members and their ages. The total monthly allowance needed to sustain the family is calculated by the department. If the family’s total income falls short, the department will grant them financial benefits to make up the difference.

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In an example given by the department, an average family of four would require Dh17,135 per month for expenditures. This is divided between the father requiring Dh7,450 and the mother needing Dh3,726 per month. Their son, who is older than 14, is estimated to need Dh3,725 and their daughter, under the age of 14, would require Dh2,235 per month. Should the family's total monthly income exceed Dh17,135, they will not be deemed eligible for financial support. If their monthly income is below Dh17,135, the department will pay the family the difference each month.

Applications for the support will be rolled out at service centres over the next year, beginning in Al Dhafra on January 6. The second round of registrations will be received in Al Ain on January 20 and in Abu Dhabi city on February 24.

The online submissions will be reviewed until March 31 and the department will begin issuing support to eligible Emiratis from April.

The benefit programme is the latest in a series of initiatives announced by the Abu Dhabi Government this year to prepare the emirate for a more prosperous future and to support its people.

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, announced Ghadan 21 in September, after giving government officials 90 days from June 5 to put in motion wide-ranging economic reforms.

Some Dh20bn of the Dh50bn stimulus package was allocated for next year’s development initiatives.

"The aim of ‘Ghadan 21’ is to enhance the competitiveness of Abu Dhabi, based on four main tenets: business and investment, society, knowledge and innovation, and lifestyle," the Crown Prince said in a series of tweets in September.

"The first phase includes over 50 initiatives that reflect the priorities of citizens, residents and investors.”

In December, Sheikh Mohamed announced that Abu Dhabi would grant Dh18.4 billion worth of new loans, homes and land in the emirate to thousands of its citizens.

More than 12,000 people are expected to benefit from the move, which came as a directive from President Sheikh Khalifa.

Updated: December 27, 2018 09:37 PM

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