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Adjusted mechanism for payment of targeted social assistance to ensure transparency and fairness in helping low-income people — Ministry of Labor and Social Protection of the Population

Monday, 07 October 2019, 13:01:34

At the Government session chaired by Prime Minister Askar Mamin, mechanisms for improving the provision of targeted social assistance were considered. The Minister of Labor and Social Protection of the Population Birzhan Nurymbetov reported on the adjustment of the current assistance payment mechanism.

According to the minister, changing the criteria for the payment of the assistance is aimed at ensuring its transparency, justice and motivation to work, as well as the introduction of a guaranteed social package for children from low-income families.

“Since April 1, 2019, the poverty line has increased from 50% to 70% (from 14,849 to 20,789 tenge), and targeted social assistance for each child from a low-income family has been set at 20,789 tenge. At the same time, the term of unconditional cash assistance was extended from 3 to 6 months, and conditional cash assistance from 6 to 12 months. For nine months of this year, 417 thousand families have been assigned targeted social assistance, which is about 2.1 million people. The average TSA size will increase 2.5 times,” Nurymbetov informed.

More than half of all recipients of targeted social assistance are members of large families. According to the minister, the implemented assistance mechanism has both positive and negative sides. Unfortunately, facts of abuse of the extended capabilities of targeted social assistance by individual citizens have been recorded. For example, more than 73 thousand families hid their income, and targeted social assistance was created illegally.

Currently, the ministry has developed a bill that will change the existing system of targeted social assistance. Proposed activities should be considered comprehensively. About 60% of low-income children are children from large families (56.5%). In this regard, it is proposed to remove children from the families of assistance recipients, to provide them with state support regardless of income, which will become a recognition of the authority of mothers with many children and increase their material well-being.

“It is proposed to establish a new state allowance for large families in differentiated sizes from 42,500 to 73,375 tenge. Targeted social assistance should be provided to those who are in a difficult life situation and cannot independently get out of it,” the minister said.

In this context, the following key mechanisms are proposed: the return of the quarterly appointment of targeted social assistance and the appointment of conditional and unconditional assistance for three months.

According to the head of the department, this, on the one hand, will exclude as much as possible cases of abuse by assistance recipients of the ability to hide their income. On the other hand, per capita family incomes do not always change only in the direction of increase, often they can also decrease. When quarterly applying for the appointment of the assistance, the amount of payment may increase. Targeted social assistance for all family members will be paid in the amount of the difference between the average income and the poverty line.

Meanwhile, if a family member refuses the proposed employment, he and all members of his family will be deprived of the right to seek social assistance.

It is also proposed that a mother who cares for a child obtain the right to participate in active employment after the child is three years old.

In addition, it is necessary to strengthen the activities of the precinct commission. At the same time, it is proposed to supplement the grounds for refusing to assign targeted social assistance to families who do not need it.

“An increase in the number of families applying for targeted social assistance has affected the work of polling stations working on a voluntary basis. Therefore, we propose that the district commissions increase the frequency of the period from three days to seven days to investigate the financial situation of the family and conclude,” the minister emphasized.

It is also planned to expand the law on public targeted assistance with the introduction of a guaranteed social package for children from low-income families.

Preschool children will be provided with food, hygiene and educational services. Students will receive free hot meals, free school travel, as well as school uniforms and school supplies at the expense of the state.

Thus, as Nurymbetov noted, the current mechanism of targeted social assistance will be adjusted. Large families have been and will remain under state protection.

“The assistance is temporary support. Responsibility for the well-being of the family, on a par with the state, should rest with able-bodied family members. This bill should provide targeted, transparent and fair assistance to low-income people, give them a new incentive to work. As a result, the state will help only those who need it,” added the minister.

In turn, Deputy Prime Minister Berdybek Saparbayev emphasized that the appointment of the assistance is intended for people who are in difficult situations. Today, mechanisms are being improved, support issues will be considered with local executive bodies.

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