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Teona Chalidze: “The number of socially vulnerable people increased again and reached a historic maximum.”

Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Teona Chalidze’s statement is TRUE.

Resume: According to the most recent data of 2021, the number of socially vulnerable people is at a historic maximum. In December 2021, subsistence assistance was disbursed to 643,167 individuals (174,379 families). In 2020-2021, the number of socially vulnerable people increased every month amid the pandemic. Since January 2020, the number of subsistence assistance recipients increased by 210,949 individuals (53,699 families).

The growth in the number of socially vulnerable people is directly related to the pandemic and the socio-economic crisis sparked by the pandemic-related economic restrictions which resulted in a higher number of people asking for social assistance. Therefore, new beneficiaries were added to the social assistance programme. In addition, the growth of social subsistence recipients is also related to the government’s policy. In particular, the process of the verification of socially vulnerable families has been suspended since 2020 (a moratorium was announced) and the circle of assistance recipients further widened.

Analysis

A member of the Strategy Builder, Teona Chalidze, stated that the number of socially vulnerable people increased again and reached a historic maximum. In the last one month, the number of socially vulnerable people increased by 6,420 and today 643,167 people (174,379) are subsistence assistance recipients.

FactCheck verified the accuracy of this statement.

According to the data of the Social Service Agency, subsistence assistance was disbursed to 643,167 individuals (174,379 families) in December 2021. The number of subsistence assistance recipients increased by 5,420 (1,493 families) as compared to the previous month. In 2008-2021, the highest number of socially vulnerable people was registered in December 2021 (see Graph 1).

Graph 1: Highest Number of Subsistence Assistance Recipient in a Year, 2008-2021

Source: Social Service Agency

Generally, the database of socially vulnerable people is constantly updated and so the number of monetary assistance recipients also fluctuates up and down. Families having the status of socially vulnerable are constantly verified because of changes in family incomes or demography. A planned inspection of socially vulnerable families is carried out every four years. In addition, new beneficiaries are added to the programme.

In 2020-2021, the number of socially vulnerable people increased every month amid the pandemic. Since January 2020, the number of subsistence assistance recipients increased by 210,949 individuals (53,699 families). (See Graph 2).

Amid the pandemic, the targeted social assistance program expanded within the scope of the government’s anti-crisis plan and compensations were disbursed to families with social points from 65,000 to 100,000 (previously, this category was not for a monetary assistance recipient) for six months from May 2020 as well as from January 2021 (for six months). However, the number of subsistence assistance recipient families and individuals also increased in those months when the monetary compensations envisioned by the anti-crisis plan were no longer disbursed.

The economic crisis sparked by the pandemic and pandemic-related restrictions directly affected the well-being of households. As a result, the number of people asking for social assistance increased. On the other hand, the government’s policy also affected the growth in the number of subsistence assistance recipients. In particular, a moratorium was announced amid the pandemic vis-à-vis the verification of the socio-economic conditions of socially vulnerable families. This means that none of these families have had their assistance revoked since 2020. Simultaneously, new beneficiaries were added to the social assistance programme. In addition, the circle of child allowance recipients has also expanded since July 2021. In particular, families with rating points under 120,000 receive assistance per child under 16 years of age. Previously, such assistance was disbursed to families with less than 100,000 rating points.

Graph 2: Number of Subsistence Assistance Recipient Families and Individuals

Source: Social Service Agency


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