Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Women married to expats denied GOSI help


Contributed by Norhana Kamid

Many Saudi women married to non-Saudis have complained that the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) stopped their pension nearly a year ago.
According to the accounts provided by several Saudi women, GOSI did not provide them with an official communication to notify them that their welfare assistance would be stopped. A monthly payment of no more than SR850 was previously deposited into their accounts.
“When my husband faced financial difficulties, I approached GOSI for assistance. My request was immediately granted, however on the day I was scheduled to receive financial support, I discovered that the money was not deposited in my account,” narrated Umm Saif, from Al-Ahsa, who has been married to a non-Saudi for the past 30 years.
She added that she initially assumed an error or misunderstanding had occurred. However on inquiry at the GOSI office in Al-Ahsa, she was told that the assistance was stopped because her husband was a non-Saudi, a local newspaper reported Sunday. “Am I not still a Saudi? Why should I be denied assistance?” the woman asked.
Umm Bandar, who is in her sixties, said she would have to resort to begging on the streets to feed her four children since her monthly grants have been stopped.
“I used to be able to meet the basic needs of my family with the meager GOSI pension given to me every month,” she lamented.
Meanwhile, Umm Abdul Aziz, a Saudi woman living in a tiny house with cracked walls, said she was panic-stricken when she heard that she would no longer receive the monthly pension. “I rushed to a nearby ATM to check my account, and to my great dismay I found it was empty,” she said, wondering how she would feed her children from now on. “My father and grand fathers were all Saudis. It was my parents’ financial difficulties that made me marry a foreigner. Is it a sin to marry a non-Saudi?” she asked.
The Ministry of Social Affairs was unavailable to provide further details regarding its decision to stop the pension of Saudi women married to foreign men, the daily reported.

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