On 16 August 2016, representatives of the Paata Burchuladze – State for the People political party held a press conference about the issue of social allowances and stated: “The number of people receiving the living allowance increased by 156,946 during the past year. The trend continued during the past two months as well with about 17,125 people being given the allowance. Unfortunately, manipulation with the socially vulnerable people in the pre-election period continues.”

On the same day, the Minister of Labour, Health and Social Affairs of Georgia, Davit Sergeenko, commented upon the statement made by the State for the People party and said that it was political speculation. “According to the actual data, the number of socially vulnerable people is around 450 thousand of late. For a very long time, the monthly changes have been about 5,000 people added or removed. So, they have somehow dreamed up this 150,000,” said Mr Sergeenko.

FactCheckhas already verified the accuracy of a statement by Giorgi Papava, a member of the Paata Burchuladze – State for the People political party who said that changes in the numbers of those receiving social allowances over the years were closely linked to election times.

The number of those receiving social allowances did indeed increase by 156,946 during the past year. The allowances were distributed to 317,453 people in July 2015 and 474,399 people in July 2016. The numbers recorded in July 2016 were 17,125 higher than those recorded two months before, in May 2016.

According to Davit Sergeenko’s statement, the average number of socially vulnerable people is now 450,000. If we look at the data of the past year, the average number was 408 thousand whilst the average from January to July 2016 is around 445 thousand which is quite close to the numbers stated by the Minister. However, it is important to note that the deviation from the average number is not 5,000 but much more. The number of people receiving social allowances in January 2016 was 37,424 people lower than the annual average (445,000) whilst in July this number had surpassed the average by 29,636 people.

Chart 1:Number of People Receiving Social Allowances

image002

It should also be noted that the changes in the numbers of those receiving social allowances (notably, the growth) have objective reasons as well. Monitoring families receiving social allowances for residential, demographic or income changes is a constant process. In addition, the Social Services Agency constantly receives new applications for social allowances.

The changes in the methodology for assessing the social and economic conditions of beneficiary families also contribute to the changes in the number of people receiving social allowances. With the new methodology, families receiving assistance are being assessed using a new formula. During this period, the allowances for certain beneficiaries were terminated or temporarily suspended. If the socially vulnerable family maintains its status after the review, it receives compensation for the period when the allowances were temporarily suspended. In 2015, after the new methodology was put into action, the number of people receiving social allowances dropped significantly; however, it started to increase again later (seeFactCheck’sarticleabout this issue ̶ available in Georgian only).

Conclusion

The number of those receiving social allowances increased by 156,946 during the past year with the growth equalling 17,125 in the past two months. These numbers are the exact ones stated by the Paata Burchuladze – State for the People political party. It is also a fact that the number of those receiving social allowances has been decreasing over the past several years (for methodological or other objective reasons). However, this happens only when there are no upcoming elections as the number of people receiving social allowances increases significantly during the pre-election period. The same is true for the 2016 Parliamentary election and it can be seen as a tool for getting more votes.

FactCheckconcludes that the statement of the Paata Burchuladze – State for the People political party isTRUEwhilst Davit Sergeenko’s statement isFALSE.


Persons

Similar News

5325 - Verified Facts
FactCheck Newspaper
27%
True
17%
Lie
10%
Mostly True
10%
Manipulation
9%

Most read