On March 8, 2023, the Russian-language propaganda portal КРАСНАЯ ВЕСНА, as well as on the Russian- (1, 2, 3, 4) and Georgian-language Facebook accounts disseminated a claim, according to which Poland is demanding the return of the money unreasonably paid to Ukrainian refugees. КРАСНАЯ ВЕСНА and Facebook accounts use the Polish media outlet – Rzeczpospolita as their primary source.
The claim about the demand to return money that Poland has unreasonably paid to Ukrainian refugees is misleading. In fact, only those Ukrainians who left Poland immediately after receiving the money and did not return within 30 days will have to return the money.
On March 8, an article was published on the website of the Polish publication Rzeczpospolita, claiming that the Polish Social Security Service is trying to recover the money paid unreasonably to Ukrainian refugees, as some of them left Poland immediately after receiving the money. The Russian propaganda outlet and some Facebook accounts talk only about the return of the money, emitting the fact that the demand only concerns refugees that left Poland, which creates a false impression all Ukrainian refugees will have to return the money.
According to the Polish outlet, the amount of unreasonable payments is around 2 million PLN (about 0.5 million USD). The amounts provided by the Polish Social Security Service (ZUS) and, accordingly, the refund of unreasonably made payments only apply to the “500+” and “300+” programs. It does not apply to other family assistance programs.
Under both programs, every child legally present in Poland receives assistance. 500+ provides for the payment of 500 zlotys per month for the second and subsequent children in the family. The maximum amount is 12,000 zlotys. The “Good Start” program, also known as 300+, entails financial support for families with school-aged children. Every child in every family receives 300 zlotys once a year.
On January 28, an amendment to the Law on Assistance to Ukrainian Citizens in connection with the armed conflict on the territory of Poland entered into force. According to the update, assistance to families of Ukrainian citizens legally in Poland will be terminated if a beneficiary or a child to whom benefits were granted leaves the country and does not return to Poland within 30 days. Social Services also gained access to the Border Protection database.
“If these people return to Poland within 30 days from the date of departure, they will not lose the legality of their stay in Poland, and the payment of benefits will be restored,” Paweł Żebrowski, the ZUS spokesperson, told Rzeczpospolita.
Benefits were suspended for 3,200 citizens of Ukraine within a month of the implementation of the changes. According to the outlet, the agency has already recovered 35,000 zlotys. The rest should be recovered within two years.
About the Sources
Facebook user “Koba Kusiani” is a repeated amplifier of Disinformation. For more information on the false and manipulative content disseminated by the user, see.
Facebook user Садиков Равшан often spreads anti-Western and anti-Ukrainian messages. The user has disseminated disinformation a number of times as well.
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