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June 29, 2007
In its annual negotiations today with the German government, the Claims Conference obtained eligibility for monthly pension payments for an estimated additional 1,500 Holocaust survivors and secured increases in the amounts of payments to survivors in Eastern Europe. Today’s negotiations will result in nearly $100 million in additional compensation payments over the next decade.
The Claims Conference obtained Article 2 Fund payments for 1,500 new claimants who are or were formerly citizens of certain Western European countries, resulting in an estimated additional $65 million to be paid over the next 10 years.
Eligibility for these survivors was obtained in negotiations in 2003, but the Claims Conference has received many more claims than was originally provided for by the German government and the German government has not previously provided sufficient funding to make these payments.
The Article 2 Fund has paid more than $2 billion to more than 73,000 Holocaust survivors since it was established in 1992 through negotiations with the German government. Monthly payments are €270 (approximately $320). Currently approximately 51,300 people receive Article 2 payments.
Eligibility criteria for these Western European victims and for the Article 2 Fund is available at: article2/eligibility
In addition, the German Ministry of Finance agreed to increase the monthly payments from the Central and Eastern European Fund (CEEF), which is paid to Holocaust survivors in former Eastern bloc countries who meet the same persecution history eligibility criteria as the Article 2 Fund.
The Claims Conference successfully argued that the cost of living in those countries has increased dramatically.The monthly CEEF payment for persons in EU countries will be increased from Euro €175 to €200 and for non-EU countries it will be increased from Euro €135 to Euro € 165 as of October 1, 2007. The Claims Conference continues to press for CEEF payments that are equal to those from the Article 2 Fund.
Currently, 14,500 people receive payments from CEEF. These increases will result in approximately $32 million in additional payments over the next 10 years.
When the Article 2 Fund was established, the German government agreed to pay only 25,000 Holocaust survivors. Due to Claims Conference annual negotiations with the Ministry of Finance to liberalize eligibility criteria, including the recognition of incarceration in additional camps and work battalions, more than 96,000 survivors have been approved to date for monthly pension payments from Article 2 and CEEF.
Negotiations regarding additional funding for in-home services for survivors are continuing as are discussions regarding the definition of income limits for Article 2 eligibility.