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Massive Cut-off of Social Assistance to Socially Excluded Families in Kakheti Region

Gela Mtlivlishvili, Kakheti

The budget of poverty reduction state program was 82 million GEL in 2007 and 115 million in 2008. The budget of state program will practically be doubled in 2009, according to 2009 state budget draft. The decree of Georgian Government on activities aiming at reduction of poverty level and perfection of social security system aims at using the state funds effectively. However, there are still many poor families in the country who have no access to social assistance program. Moreover, the Agency for Social Subsidies stopped several days ago. The socially excluded families used to receive the social assistance within the framework of a governmental state poverty reduction program.

According official data more than 54 % of Georgian population lived below the poverty line in 2003. In 2005 the Georgian Government changed the mechanism as how the percentage of poor people was statistically estimated. The result was that the number of people living below poverty level actually decreased. In other words, before 2005 the percentage of poor farmers among all farmers showed the a higher poverty rate and now the percentage of poor people among all population has been reduced. Statistically 35 % of total population of Georgia is still classified as being poor. Nonetheless, statistically there are less people in Georgia in reality at the poverty level but there is more to the depth and acuteness of the problem when it actually comes to how poverty is determined. Poor economic conditions facing Georigans remains as the most pressing problem facing both the population and the country.   Experts say that more than 55 % of  Georigans are poor.

Everyone who considers that is he or she is poor can apply for social assistance. An applicant must apply to the Agency of Social Subsidies of the Ministry of Labor, Healthcare and Social Security of Georgia for this. After having filled in a special form a social agent inspects social level of the applicant family and fills in the family declaration. Every applicant family receives scores based on the declaration. Those families who receive 57,000 or less points will receive social assistance in terms of money. Those families who receive less than 70,000 points will get a medical insurance voucher and finally the families with a new born child and points below 100 000 will receive one time aid of 1,000 GEL.

The representatives of Agency for Social Subsidies say that they are trying their best to grant rating to the family shortly after lodging an application to their organization. “According to the government’s decree the period between official application and granting rating is 4 months, however, we are trying to go through the procedures as fast as possible,” stated Soso Bregvadze, deputy director of the Agency for Social Subsidies.

The Georgian NGO Human Rights Center (HRIDC) does not agree with the statement of the Agency authority. HRIDC has been monitoring the implementation of poverty reduction state program in Kakheti Region since July 1st, 2008. Lia Khuroshvili, the lawyer of Human Rights Center states that usually the Agency for Social Subsidies does not respond to the application within 4 month-period of time. Therefore, she does not know what the Agency representatives mean in “as soon as possible”.

“Most of citizens with no source of income were not listed in poverty reduction program because they had an old Soviet TV-set, a tooth brush or dishes and plates at home. We consider that poverty level must be ascertained according to some other criteria than based on visual living conditions of the family. Declarations must elicit the real plight of a family and social agents must be more responsible and attentive while doing their job. Social assistance must not be allocated based on either nepotism or political affiliation,” stated Lia Khuroshvili, a lawyer who participates in HRIDC’s poverty reduction program implementation monitoring.

Khuroshvili also stated that often the Agency for Social Subsidies cuts off social assistance to extremely poor people. Human Rights Center has the information that this process has become massive in Kakheti Region since October 2008.

Story #1

Natela Tamazashvili, a physically disabled person who is blind and suffers from complicated form of a malignant tumor lives with an unemployed husband. The family has no income. The family received 54, 850 points according to the registration certificate dating August 10, 2007 which proved that the family was registered in the unified database for socially excluded families.

“I did not receive money as a social assistance. I was given only medical insurance voucher. In March 2008 was taken to National Cancer Center with an open and festering wound. Doctors refused to treat me. They said my voucher had been voided. It turned out that the Agency for Social Subsidies invalidated my medical insurance, revised our conditions without us having applied for this and given us 99, 590 points. I do not agree with the rating score we received. After the first inspection we sold everything from the house and therefore our living condition deteriorated. I know that my malignant tumor is on 4th stage and I will die soon but if you help me in taking the medical voucher for the second time I might have a chance of prolonging my life for several months,” said Natela Tamazashvili.

After the lawyer of the Human Rights Center interfered a social agent of the Agency for Social Subsidies revised Tamazashvili’s living conditions and granted them 33,480 points. Therefore, the family received only 42 GEL. Unfortunately, the ill woman was not given a medical insurance voucher. The family of Tamazashvilis received social assistance only once. Despite the fact that their rating point has not changed, Mr. Tamazashvili and his sick wife who is now bed ridden has not received any money from the government up to present time; no one knows why this is the case.

Story # 2

Nunu Jachvadze used to receive 22 GEL as social assistance together with her pension as a physically disabled person. The Agency for Social Subsidies stopped granting 22 GEL to Nunu Jachvadze when she participated in poverty reduction program.

“After having applied for social assistance, a social agent from the Agency for Social Subsidies inspected my living conditions and granted me a score of 42 420 points. Social assistance in terms of money was given to me. However, I was told that I had no right to get two social assistances so they stopped giving me the 22 GEL. I was inspected in several weeks again and given me additional points. Nonetheless, I lost social assistance I was due to receive in terms of poverty reduction state program. Now I receive no social assistance at all. I addressed the head of Gurjaani Department of the Agency for Social Subsidies numerous times. However, he always refused to listen to me. There are many people who are in the situation like me,” stated Nunu Jachvadze.

Story # 3

Misha Khimshiashvili, 79, a physically disabled person lives in a steel container of just 3 sq. meters. He received a medal of honor for participating in the Great Patriotic War in 1941-1945.

Khimshiashvili applied to the Agency for Social Subsidies for participating in the government’s poverty reduction program. However, the Agency rejected his appeal because they considered that an iron booth could be considered as his permanent place of residence. However, the old man has no other place to go and he has not income whatsoever.

The socially excluded citizens state that the families with better living conditions were enabled to participate in the social program. Otar Sesiashvili, head of Kakheti Regional Coordination Center of the Agency for Social Subsidies denies these allegations. “There might be some instances but not that many,” he told.

-Mr. Otar we received information that the Agency stopped granting social assistance to socially excluded people on a massive scale. They say this process continues up to present time. Why is that so? 

-No it is not true. We received a list of socially excluded families from the Agency for Social Subsidies. We are inspecting these families for the second time. Until the poverty score is determined families will receive social assistance.”

However, the Human Rights Center states that granting of social assistance has been stopped on a massive scale.

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Name: ნოდარი
2013-08-20 12:28
გთხოვთ მიპასუხოთ,სოციალურად დაუცველ ოჯახთა სიაში მოსახვედრად ოჯახის შემოსავლის
ზედა ზღვარი რამდენ ლარს შეადგენს?
Name: ლალი
2012-07-20 15:37
სოციალურად დაუცველთა სიაში მაშინ შეგვიყვანეს, როდესაც ჩემი ქვრივი ქალიშვილი თავის ორ შვილთან ერთად ჩემს ოჯახშიგადმოვიდა, რადგან იქ უარესი პირობები ქონდა, ამ ორი ბავშვიდან ერთი, რომელიც ათი წლისაა არის ინვალიდი, აგრეთვეეპილეფსიით არის დაავადებული,აქვს 5-6 თვის ბავშვის გონება, მუდმივად სჭირდება პამპერსი დაწამალი,სჭირდება მომვლელი, ჩემი ოჯახი შედგება რვა სულისგან, აქედან ერთი მეძუძური დედაა, ერთიწლისა და რვა თვის ბავშვი, ოჯახში მხოლოდ მე ვმუშობ,მაქვს 264 ლარი ხელფასი,ბავვის დაბადების შემდეგ გადაგვამოწმეს და მოგვივიდა78000ქულა, ეს ნუთუ არ ნიშნავს ,იმას რომ ქულებს ხელოვნურად ზრდიან, მე ჯავახისვილი მაქვს დამთავრებული და არც ისეთი უტვინო ვარ ვერ ვამჩნევდე რა ხდება ჩემს ირგვლივ, დახმარებას ისეთი ოჯახები იღებენ, გაოცებული ვარ, ჩემი შემოსავალი მთლიანად ავადმყოფს სწირდება სხვა შემოსავალი არ გვაქვს.რას იტყოდით ამაზე.
Name: :))
2011-02-21 18:33
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