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On 20 September 2013, Giorgi Targamadze, presidential candidate for the Christian-Democratic Movement, met with non-governmental organisations working on the rights of persons with disabilities. “One of the most critical issues of today is the termination of living subsidies, the so-called household assistance, for disabled children. Thousands of families [children with disabilities] expected a 30 lari increase in their pension starting from September but the pension grew only by eight lari

and, on top of that, the household assistance was discontinued,” stated Giorgi Targamadze at the meeting.

FactCheck

found the statement of the candidate to be of interest and checked its accuracy.

Household assistance is a pecuniary social aid amounting to GEL 22 which is given to families in need and which also includes families with disabled children. Resolution N254 issued on 27 December 2006 by the Georgian Government defined household assistance to be granted solely to those families for whom assistance was assigned prior to 1 January 2007. The assistance was to be distributed by the Social Service Agency. In accordance with this Resolution, household assistance for children with disabilities has been suspended since 2007; assistance was preserved, however, for those who were already receiving assistance at that point. Those who received the status of a disabled person after 1 January 2007, therefore, would not receive household assistance.

Resolution N279 of the Georgian Government issued on 23 July 2012 defined the government pension for disabled children to amount to GEL 70. Some recipients of this pension, those who were given the status of disabled before 1 January 2007, were receiving an additional GEL 22 which made their total assistance amount to GEL 92.

On 16 August 2013, amendments were introduced into governmental Resolution N179 which foresaw social aid for disabled children to be raised to GEL 100 starting from September 2013. Based on the fact that not all disabled children had the same assistance package, some of them had their pension increased by GEL 30 while others’ pensions saw a growth of GEL 8.

We also spoke with Giorgi Kakachia, Social Affairs Department Head at the Ministry of Labour, Health and Social Affairs. As clarified by him: “Government pension was increased for everyone in September 2013. The pension for children with disabilities became GEL 100. Pension could not have grown equally for everyone because children with disabilities had different assistance packages at the point.” In addition, Giorgi Kakachia provided the following statistical data: as of August 2013, 7,863 disabled children were receiving GEL 70 while assistance in the amount of GEL 92 was assigned to 1,569 children.

Conclusion

Starting from September 2013 the government pension for persons with disabilities was increased to GEL 100. Household assistance has been discarded for persons with disabilities dating from 2007 but the aid was retained by those beneficiaries who were given the status of disabled prior to 1 January 2007 and household assistance of GEL 22 was added to their governmental pension. Persons who were granted the status after 1 January 2007 received only the governmental pension (without the discontinued household assistance) of GEL 70. Due to the fact that disabled persons had divergent assistance packages, in September of 2013 the assistance of some grew by GEL 8 while others’ pensions were raised by GEL 30.

Consequently, the candidate’s assertions, claiming that the pensions were supposed to grow by GEL 30 while in reality they grew only by GEL 8, are misleading. The assistance has verily gone up from GEL 70 to GEL 100; thus, by GEL 30. Merely those who were receiving an adjunct of GEL 22, having a total pension of GEL 92 (GEL 70 + GEL 22), had their pension increased by only GEL 8 while the pension of those not getting this adjunct grew by GEL 30. It is also noteworthy that the majority of disabled children received an increase of GEL 30. As reported by the data from August 2013, 7,863 disabled children were getting GEL 70 as opposed to 1,569 disabled children who were receiving GEL 92.

Accordingly, we conclude that Giorgi Targamadze’s statement: “Thousands of families [children with disabilities] expected a 30 lari increase in their pension starting from September but the pension grew only by eight lari and, on top of that, the household assistance was discontinued,” is MOSTLY FALSE.

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