The Real Value of Social Assistance
UNDP presented an assessment of social assistance benefit adequacy in a press conference that revealed that not much has changed since 2003 even though prices have increased continuously. Beneficiaries of social assistance cannot cover even the minimum food basket with the amount they are receiving every month.
Some of the findings show that in 2009, the Social Assistance amount was increased by €5 for each family size up to 7 members. In 2012, the amount of the benefit was increased by €5 for families up to 15 members. Since October 2012 families with children now receive an additional transfer of €5 per month for each child between 0-18 years. This benefit was intended to improve access to education and healthcare for children.
Further, data reveal that in 2003, the extreme (food) poverty line was €47 per person while the monthly amount of Social Assistance for a family with only one member is €40 in 2014. The level of Social Assistance has continuously been lower than the average wage in Kosovo. In 2003, the average amount of Social Assistance was €56 per month, while the average wage was €167. In 2012 this gap has widened even further. The average wage in 2012 was €372, whereas the average amount of Social Assistance was €73 per month.
This is the first component of the research project funded by the Poverty Thematic Trust Fund to assess the impact of social assistance on poverty reduction. The second component of the project, that will be launched in September, will present findings on institutional hurdles in delivery of social assistance at the local level.