Davit Kirkitadze: “The number of social assistance recipients stands at a record high with 664,000 people.”
Verdict: FactCheck concludes that Davit Kirkitadze’s statement is TRUE.
Resume: Currently, the number of social assistance recipients in Georgia stands at a historic high. As of July 2022, some 664,278 people (180,079 families) are social assistance recipients which constitute nearly 18% of the country’s total population.
In 2020-2022, the number of socially vulnerable people (recipients of social assistance) has been rising monthly. In this year alone, the number of social assistance recipients increased by 16,102 people (4,363 families).
At the session of the Parliament of Georgia, United National Movement MP, Davit Kirkitadze, underscored the growth of the number of socially vulnerable people. As stated by Mr Kirkitadze: “The number of social assistance recipients in the country stands at a record high and these are 664,000 people who are receiving assistance. Since January 2022, this number increased by an additional 16,000.”
Beneficiaries of state programme of social assistance (subsistence minimum) are families living below the poverty line whom the government provides with cash and other type of assistance. In 2020-2022, people’s applications for social assistance increased to a record high which indicates that the population’s well-being has deteriorated significantly.
According to the data of the Social Service Agency, the number of socially vulnerable people in the country has been increasing every month in 2020-2022. According to the latest July 2022 data, some 664,278 people (180,079 families) are collecting cash social assistance. The share of subsistence minimum recipients constitutes nearly 18% of the total Georgian population. Of note is that the number of subsistence assistance recipients stands at a historic high. Since January 2020, the number of subsistence assistance recipients increased by 53.7% which is 232,060 people (59,399 families). In this year alone, the number of social assistance recipients increased by 16,102 people (4,363 families).
Graph 1: Number of Subsistence Assistance Recipients in 2020-2022
Source: Social Service Agency
On top of the increased number of people requesting social assistance, of note is that the government’s policy has also affected the growth of the number of social 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 has had their assistance revoked since 2020. In addition, the circle of child allowance recipients has also expanded since July 2021. Although the moratorium ended in April 2022, the number of socially vulnerable people continues to grow.
The main factor which causes rise in the number of socially vulnerable people is the growing number of applications. The fact that there is an increasing number of families and people who require minimal cash benefits from the government indicates a worsening of the overall quality of life in the country.