(AP) - Finland has become the first country in Europe to pay its unemployed citizens a basic monthly income, amounting to 560 euros ($587), in a unique social experiment which is hoped to cut government red tape, reduce poverty and boost employment.
lli Kangas from the Finnish government agency KELA, which is responsible for the country's social benefits, said Monday that the two-year trial with the 2,000 randomly picked citizens who receive unemployment benefits kicked off Jan. 1.
Those chosen will receive $587 every month, with no reporting requirements on how they spend it. The amount will be deducted from any benefits they already receive.
The average private sector income in Finland is $3,600 per month, according to official data. Kangas said the scheme's idea is to abolish the "disincentive problem" among the unemployed.