Many lonely people in Ninotsminda district can’t get the social aid provided for by the government. The problem is that one of the provisions of the law on social assistance is oftentimes at variance with the reality.
Under the law, if there is anyone else registered in a house or an apartment where such pensioner resides, the latter is no longer eligible for social assistance, since he/she is not regarded as a lonely person.
Story 1: Grizetta, 75
Here is an old house with dilapidated and scorched veranda. It seems, no one has been living here for a decade; that the house has been abandoned after the fire.
However, an elderly woman, Grizetta Mnatsakanyan, 75, lives here. A sick and helpless woman has 4 children – 2 sons and 2 daughters. Her sons left for Russia to work, they promised to come back for her, but they haven’t eventually returned. 10 years have already passed. Her daughters have got married and moved to some other places, and they don’t visit their mother.
The house caught fire as a result of a gas cylinder explosion 2 years ago. The windows were smashed and the house was burned badly. And everything has remained as it was, no one has helped to restore it.
“The pension I get is my only source of livelihood. I buy flour and only bare essentials, there is no enough money for medicines. I’m not provided social aid. They told me: ‘Your children are registered here, so let them help you’,” says Grizetta Mnatsakanyan.
Story 2: Antaram, 84
The following rule has been in effect in Georgia since June 1, 2016: women who have reached the age of 60 and men from the age of 65, are eligible for a GEL180 pension [approximately US$77]. A monthly supplement for lonely pensioners amounts to GEL60 [about US$25].
Antaram Abraamyan, 84, lives in another village, in Eshtia. She’s been living alone in her brother’s house for many years. Her brother’s sons are registered in the house, but they don’t actually live there and haven’t shown up for over a decade. However, due to the aforesaid, grandma Antaram is not eligible for those US$25 that she regards as her salvation.
“I suffer from arm and leg pains, dizziness. It’s hard for a lonely elderly to do things, I’m even afraid of going out alone and therefore I haven’t bathed for 2 months, I couldn’t get to a bath house. It’s impossible to survive on a pension. How can I prove that”? says Antaram Abraamyan.
Pension increase has further aggravated many people’s condition
After such seemingly positive event as June 2016 pension increase, the lonely pensioners’ problem has further aggravated and has become mass-scale. The matter is that a minimum consumer basket totals GEL150, whereas a pension now amounts to GEL180. And all those pensioners who were eligible for benefits, have now dropped off the list.
“We understand that elderly people are facing hard times. But there’s nothing we can do to help them,” says Jemal Khmaladze, the head of Ninotsminda Municipality Social Service Agency. “This problem can be solved only if the law is changed.”