Social security handouts barely cover the established consumer basket prices, but they have been significantly increased
A number of social security benefits have increased in Azerbaijan – in particular for people with disabilities and children. The increased payouts will come into effect on 1 April 2019.
What the numbers show
– The stipend for people with disabilities will increase from $31, $36 and $48, to $65, $76 and $88 depending on their disability category (I, II or III);
– Stipends for children under 18 years of age with disabilities will increase from $48 to $88;
– Stipends for women with more than five children will increase from $19 to $32 per child.
– Presidential pension for those disabled in war time will increase from $71, $93 and $107, to $93, $124 and $147 depending on the degree of disability (I, II or III).
An amount of 300 million manat (approximately $176 million) has been allocated from the budget for these purposes.
Economist Togrul Mashalli says the increase in social security benefits is substantial and will indeed improve the condition of the people concerned. However, he believes the cost of the consumer basket in Azerbaijan is $106, which is higher than most of the maximum disability allowances.
“However, it seems to me that very few people with disabilities live on these benefits in general,” Mashalli notes.
“In addition, this and other recent social measures may lead to further changes in the state budget and increase inflation in the case of a lack of a clear goal and plan. Apparently, an increase in benefits was not planned. In theory, in order to prevent a sharp rise in prices, it is necessary to regulate them with the help of customs duties, cheap loans and other tools.”
Social media users also received the news without particular enthusiasm:
“How can a disabled person live on $88?!”
“Oh, wow, what a fortune!! What are you [the gov’t] doing? The treasury will not sustain such a loss!”
However, those who benefit from social security benefits are happy with the increase, saying it is “still better than what it was”.