a day… They gave GEL 28 to persons below the poverty threshold, so that’s what we get through arithmetical calculations.”FactCheck
inquired about the actual number of people living below the poverty threshold and the amount of social assistance they were given. We verified the accuracy of the MP’s statement.The state programme of social assistance in the form of a subsistence allowance was launched in 2005. The socio-economic state of a household is evaluated in accordance with the following criteria: family income, family property and family needs. In order to receive social assistance, a family needs to submit the relevant application to the Social Service Agency. Following the submission, an agent from the Agency will visit the family to assess its income and property and assign it a certain rating score based upon the assessment. Families whose rating score is no more than 57,000 points are included in the state assistance programme and granted relevant pecuniary assistance (subsistence allowance) from the government. Up until 1 July 2013, the first member of a family living below the poverty threshold was given a monthly assistance in the amount of GEL 30; that is, GEL 1 a day and every other member received GEL 24; that is, 80 tetri
a day. Starting from 1 July 2013, the subsistence allowance was doubled resulting in GEL 2 a day for the first member of the family; that is GEL 60 a month and GEL 1.60 a day for each of the other family members, amounting to GEL 48 a month. As can be seen, pecuniary assistance for the socially vulnerable families has grown although its volume is still minimal.
In line with the statistical data of 2012 collected by the Social Service Agency, subsistence allowance was given to a total of 501,445 citizens (163,183 families). We also inquired about the statistical data of the past years (see table below). As can be gathered from the table, the highest number of social aid recipient citizens is registered in 2012 (501,445).It is also to be noted that pecuniary social assistance in the form of a subsistence allowance was discontinued to 47,588 citizens (12,576 families) in 2013. As clarified by the Social Service Agency, the subsistence allowance was discontinued or temporarily suspended to those households from the unified database of socially unprotected families whose income was proven by the information of the Revenue Service to be higher than declared. This matter has been examined by FactCheck in a previous article.
Conclusion Prior to 1 July 2013, the first member of a family living below the poverty threshold was given a monthly assistance in the amount of GEL 30; that is, GEL 1 a day and every other member received GEL 24; that is, 80 tetri a day. The indicated numbers more or less correspond to the figure named in the statement of the MP (72 tetri).
However, Viktor Dolidze was pointing out one-and-a-half million people living below the poverty threshold whereas in actuality, throughout the governance of the United National Movement, the highest number of persons receiving pecuniary social assistance amounted to 501,445. As can be seen, the number of aid recipients named in the MP’s statement exceeds the real number of such persons threefold.Consequently, FactCheck concludes that Viktor Dolidze’s statement, “The previous government had one-and-a-half million people living on 72 tetri a day…” is MOSTLY FALSE.
Originally published in The Financial, issue N. 15(395)