Tue. Feb 27th, 2024

Only one in three families that could access the Minimum Living Income (IMV) due to their rental level request this help. This is the data collected in the report ‘Being poor in Spain. The portrait of a thousand families’ that the NGO Save the Cildren has published this week and that reflects the bureaucratic gap that a large part of the group to which this aid is directed encounters. Many households at risk of social exclusion are unaware of the existence of this benefit, but once they have this information, the language and digital skills problems are no less, as are the waiting lists or problems with registration, so the The application process ends up operating as a barrier that many potential beneficiaries do not overcome.

The study prepared by the NGO focused on children highlights that this situation is worse in the case of families that are in extreme poverty, those people who live with 20% of the median income – 1,404.1 euros for a household with an adult – among which the proportion of non-application of the IMV amounts to 45%. Also particularly worrying is the figure of 54% reported by extended families, that is, in which different adult relatives reside with a bond of blood or law. “Many of these families have a member in a situation of underemployment or unemployment. This has an effect on their ability to generate income, which causes almost all boys and girls to find themselves in monetary poverty, with some families having to survive on 50 0 euros per month. These situations are not always alleviated by the IMV, since there are still many families that do not have access.”

Academics have defined this phenomenon as ‘non-take-up’ and it explains the distance that exists between theoretically recognized rights and those enjoyed by citizens in reality. A gap that is especially serious in the case of aid such as the IMV that is aimed at “preventing the risk of poverty and social exclusion of people who live alone or are integrated into a cohabitation unit and lack economic resources to cover their needs.” “. Basic” as explained by the Ministry of Inclusion, Security and Migration on its web portal. However, 58% of the people who could access this benefit do not request it, according to the latest report prepared by the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF) and in the case of the childhood supplement it rises to 76% with data from 2022.

Families without dependent minors

The document prepared by the organization chaired by Cristina Herrero created a profile of the families that could apply for help but did not do so. The majority lived in Andalusia, Catalonia, the Valencian Community and Madrid, they did not have dependent minors and the benefit would increase their income level by less than 30%. Furthermore, AIReF stated that part of this percentage could be explained by the fact that they are recipients of regional income that have the same purpose, but the available data would not allow them to reach a firm conclusion. This opinion, which was published in June 2023, reflected proportions very similar to the annotations in the text presented a year before, which is why it sought to be a call to attention to the responsible portfolio, then headed by José Luis Escrivá.

However, the portfolio that Elma Saiz oversees with the new configuration of the Council of Ministers was not immune to this phenomenon, given that the number of beneficiaries is far from the potential that was sought to be achieved when presenting the policy in 2020. The Ministry makes public each month the number of accumulated recipients, that is, the families and citizens who have received it at some point in these three years and there are more than 710,000 according to the data for the month of November. In December 2022, this department reported the figure of 549,000 beneficiary households, however, the AIReF report reduced the number of those who were receiving it in that specific period to only 283,000.

After learning the first opinion of this organization – with data from 2021 – the Ministry launched several campaigns to publicize the benefit to the target audience for which it had been designed. José Luis Escrivá’s team launched the ‘It’s the minimum’ campaign in which, through information tents and a bus that toured the country, they sought not only to inform, but also to accompany people in carrying out the application process. Likewise, the obligation to submit registration as a job seeker in March 2022 was eliminated in order to advance this objective of reducing the ‘non take-up’ gap, efforts recognized by AIReF, although it recommended increasing efforts intended for this purpose.

A technical table to address ‘non take-up’

The development of this policy gave rise to clashes between the then head of Social Rights and vice president of the Government, Pablo Iglesias, and the minister appointed by the socialist wing of the Executive. The minority partner then defended that the design of this policy was insufficient to address social problems, a thesis that maintains the space now integrated into Sumar. Although the truth is that Elma Saiz also set the review of this benefit among the key issues for the next four years in the meeting held with the social agents at the beginning of the week as a contact point. The minister placed emphasis on the problem of ‘non take-up’ and announced the constitution of a technical inclusion table in which to study improving the provision.

By NAIS

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