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article imageFinland's basic income experiment is lowering stress levels

By Owen Weldon     Jun 22, 2017 in World
For the last five months, Finland has been giving 2,000 citizens unconditional income. The country is already seeing benefits, with one being citizens are reporting decrease stress.
The scheme, which is the first of its kind in Europe, provides recipients with €560 ($624) every month for two years. Those receiving the money don't have to report whether or not they are looking for work or how they are spending the money, which is deducted from any benefits they are currently receiving.
Marjukka Turnen, the head of KELA, a legal unit at the social insurance agency, said the scheme was having a positive impact on people's mental health. Turnen spoke with Kera News and said there was one woman who was afraid of picking the phone up because she thought it was unemployment services calling with a job offer. However, the woman couldn't work due to her caring for her elderly parents.
Turnen continued to say the experiment has indirectly impacted people's mental health and has had a positive effect on their stress levels.
The Independent reported that Juha Jarvinen, an unemployed young father in a village near Jurva, was chosen at random to receive the payment. He started to receive it in January. He said he was actively seeking work, which wasn't the case when he was receiving standard unemployment payments. In the past, Jarvinen was offered part-time jobs, but he said taking them would jeopardize his welfare payments.
Jarvinen said he is much less stressed and he is in the process of starting his own business. He added that he no longer has to go through the show of attending regular interview with officiants at the employment agency.
Advocates say basic income is a solution to poverty because it gives poor people what they lack, which is cash. Advocates say they can use the money to buy a vehicle to get to work, make repairs on their home or save up for an emergency.
Those taking part in the experiment were already unemployed when they applied to receive the benefits back in 2016. If participants found a job after applying or after the experiment started, they will still receive the income each month.
Turunen said that no formal data on the effectiveness of the trial would be release until 2018. She said the results must be analyzed according to the info they receive at the end of next year.
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