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"Only wealthy" should support poor relatives

The leading association of welfare services says only the wealthy and high-income families should be asked to come to the aid of poor relatives.

On Monday the Swiss Conference of Social Institutions presented new guidelines in which the minimum income before the authorities can request you to support your next of kin doubled.

For individuals the minimum goes from SFr60,000 ($54,470) to SFr120,000 and from SFr80,000 to SFr180,000 for multiple-income families.

The guidelines are directed at the cantonal and communal authorities, which have the right to withhold welfare payments from applicants if next of kin have the financial means to support them.

Conference president Walter Schmid said the burden of supporting poor relatives had often been placed on middle-class families who have a hard time meeting other financial obligations.

The conference is an association of private and public welfare services. It sets the norms for social aid in Switzerland and defines the instruments used by welfare services all over the country.

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