The minimum vital income law has been approved this Friday by the Congress of Deputies with the votes in favor of the Government parties, ERC, PNV, Ciudadanos, Compromís and the abstention of PP, EH Bildu and Vox. The legislation is now going to the Senate and has incorporated important changes in its parliamentary procedure, which will be applied as of January 1, 2022 and that expand access to the state minimum income. Among them, an aid per child of between 50 to 100 euros per month is approved for families benefiting from the IMV, but also for households that have up to three times more income. In addition, modifications have been included to expand access for young people, people with disabilities, the unemployed and those whose situation suddenly deteriorates seriously.
The Budgets include an aid of up to 100 euros per child for families with low incomes
The aid per child approved by Congress consists of a contribution of 100 euros per month for each minor in the home under three years of age, 70 euros per month for children between three and under six years old, and 50 euros in the case of those over six years of age and under 18.
All families benefiting from the minimum living income will benefit from the supplement per child, but also others living in poverty (not so severe) that do not meet the requirements to receive the IMV. The legislation establishes that households with up to three times the income that marks access to the minimum vital income and with a “net worth is less than 150% of the limits set” may receive the aid for each minor.
The supplement per child for low-income families it was already announced by the Minister of Social Security, José Luis Escrivá, and the Minister of Social Rights, Ione Belarra, as an agreement between the Government partners. It is a long-awaited measure by organizations that fight against child poverty, since Spain is an anomaly due to lack of investment compared to other countries in the European environment. In addition, Spain is the third state in the EU with the most child poverty, reaching one in four minors.
Another notable change is the improvement in the amount of the minimum vital income for households with a member with a great disability. To the monthly amount “a supplement equivalent to 22% will be added” if the beneficiary household has “someone with a degree of recognized disability equal to or greater than 65%”.
Access to the IMV is facilitated
The parliamentary procedure has also incorporated modifications that facilitate access to the minimum vital income in various situations. As the ministers anticipated, dependency benefits will not be counted as household income for access to the IMV.
There is another change in high demand from social groups on the access of young people to help. Young people ex-ward by the Public Administration from the age of 18 (now limited from 23) will be entitled to the benefit and for the rest of the young people the minimum required period of independence from the family home is reduced, from three to two years.
The legislation also facilitates access to the IMV by taking into account the income of the current year, instead of the previous year as usual, for households that see their economy suddenly worsen. The regulation establishes that these applicants must comply with the access requirements of the IMV in force and, in addition, that the year prior to the application the household will not triple the income thresholds or the net equity limit set. Before, the income criterion was much more restricted, since our households could not exceed “by more than 50%” the established limits.
A more agile step in the protection of the IMV from unemployment is also foreseen, for those people who lose unemployment protection and are left in a situation of need, without the right to other aid. In these cases in which the subsidies are exhausted, unemployment benefits in any of its forms, including active insertion income, will not be taken into account in the household income level for access to the IMV.
“These points must be accredited at the time of the application for the minimum vital income benefit through the appropriate electronic interoperability system through which the State Public Employment Service, or the entity that manages the provision of cessation of activity, facilitates to the National Institute of Social Security the necessary data for its verification “, includes the amendment that has gone ahead in the parliamentary process. This communication between the SEPE and Social Security was referred to by the Ministers Escrivá and Belarra as a guarantee from the Administrations that prevents unemployed people from losing unemployment protection and being left without any type of income. A situation of vulnerability and poverty that is later more difficult to reverse.
The last debate in Congress
During the debate on the regulation, which was held briefly this Friday in the Labor Commission of Congress, which has full legislative competence, the deputy of United We Can, Isabel Franco, whose group has agreed on transactional amendments with some of the usual partners of the Executive has asked “forgiveness from the 747,000 people who requested the IMV and who have been rejected.” She recalled that “this law was approved on May 20, 2020” in the form of a royal decree “quickly, running, with a great response capacity from the Government to address the consequences of the pandemic.” “Thanks to this speed, it has been possible to attend to many people who were having a very bad time,” he assured, although he emphasized the need for the Executive’s text, showing himself satisfied with the parliamentary procedure.
From ERC they have limited themselves to defending their support for the norm by seeing their demands fulfilled by agreeing on transactional amendments. The PNV spokesperson in the Commission, Íñigo Barandiarán, recalled that the law “comes to cover a facet of the Constitution that was actually already covered in some autonomous communities”, and has insisted on claiming the transfer of IMV management to the Basque Country and Navarra, an aspect that Basque nationalists have already managed to agree with the Government, at least in the Basque case. For Barandiarán, “social care must be able to be managed by the communities” because it allows “finding the closest solutions.”
EH Bildu has abstained because, as his spokesman in the commission, Iñaki Ruiz de Pinedo, has said, “this IMV law is important, but it still lacks important issues.” In his opinion, “the potential coverage may be higher”, the “minimum age” to be able to access the aid “should be 18 years” and not 20, as the text states. In addition, the independentistas consider that “a year of registration should be enough” to be able to receive the IMV.
Vox has also abstained although providing very different arguments. The deputy Juan José Aizcorbe, has assured that the norm shows that “the left prefers to manage poverty instead of generating wealth” and has argued that the IMV generates “a pull effect” for immigrants. The PP, which has announced its abstention, has considered that “the Government has failed” in the management of the IMV “creating legal gibberish” and preventing its application, “without a clear criterion.” “The IMV still does not reach those who need it most,” denounced the ‘popular’ deputy, who has also criticized the transfer of aid management to the Basque Country. “The Government executes the transfer of a state competence that may mean the beginning of the breakdown of the Social Security system,” he denounced.
Citizens have assured that the IMV is an “essential bill to create social muscle in the area of severe poverty”, although the deputy Sara Giménez has denounced that “the decree was published with many fringes” that have been corrected during the parliamentary process , such as access to help for “ward” and “orphans” or covering “the elimination of the child benefit.”