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In September 2015, a FactCheck

reader, Davit Lomidze, asked us to verify the information posted on the official Facebook page of the Government of Georgia. According to the information, "old age pensions have increased by 60% and the monthly payments of the pensions have risen by 28.3%."

FactCheck

verified the accuracy of these numbers.

In 2012, old age pension was in the margin of GEL 110-125. Since April 2013, pensions for all categories of pensioners have become GEL 125 and reached GEL 150 in September 2013. Pensions did not increase in 2014. Since September 2015, pensions have increased by GEL 10. Therefore, old age pensions have increased by 45% (instead of 60%) over the past three years as compared to the minimum pension (GEL 110). FactCheck has previously worked on this topic (see article).

Under the Georgian Dream government, a significant rise in the amount of old age pension was registered only in 2013. Of note is that the previous government planned a similar increase in old age pensions in its draft budget project for 2013.

If we take the level of inflation into account, we can conclude that pensions have not really increased since 2013. Inflation reached 9% in Georgia between September 2013 and September 2015 and so an average pensioner was able to purchase more goods and services in 2013 with his GEL 150 pension than in 2015 with the GEL 160 pension.

In regard to the monthly payments of the pensions, statistical data of the Social Service Agency indicate that payments of pensions amounted to GEL 83.2 million in September 2012. September 2015’s data have not yet been published. The payment of pensions in August was GEL 106.7 million. Since September 2015, pensions have increased by GEL 10 which means that the payments have also increased. However, of note is that the rise in the monthly payments of the pensions was not caused by the increase in pensions alone. One of the reasons is the increase in the number of pensioners. If in 2012 there were 680.4 thousand pensioners in the country, 2015’s latest data indicate that there are 703.8 thousand pensioners.

Even though the principal focus of this research was to verify the data with regard to old age pensions, FactCheck

also reviewed additional data published by the Government of Georgia.

For instance, pensions for people with serious disabilities (second level of disability according to the old classification) rose from GEL 70 to GEL 100 in 2013 which constitutes a 43% increase. The amount of pension for disabled citizens has not increased since 2013.

Pensions for people with the most evident disability status (first level of disability according to the old classification) increased from GEL 100 to GEL 125 in April 2013 and reached GEL 150 in September 2013. Therefore, the amount of pension for these citizens increased by 50% with the amount having risen by a further GEL 10 since September 2015.

In regard to the compensation for those families whose members lost their lives in the fight for the territorial integrity of Georgia, their pension amounts to GEL 1,000. In 2012, this amount was GEL 500.

Conclusion

In 2012, Georgia’s old age pension was in the margin of GEL 110-125. In the last three years, this amount has increased by 45% as compared to the minimum pension and by 28% (instead of 60%) as compared to the maximum pension. Of note is that under the current government, a significant rise in the amount of pension was registered only in 2013. Old age pension did not increase in 2014 but went up by GEL 10 in September 2015. Additionally, if we take the level of inflation into account, we can safely say that there has been no real rise in the amount of pension since 2013. Inflation in Georgia reached 9% between September 2013 and September 2015. Therefore, an average pensioner was able to purchase more goods and services in 2013 with his GEL 150 pension than in 2015 with the GEL 160 pension.

The monthly payment of pensions did increase considerably which together with the increased amount of pension was also caused by the growing number of pensioners.

FactCheck concludes that the information with regard to a 60% increase in the amount of old age pensions presented by the Government of Georgia is MOSTLY FALSE.