The Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (Airef) has published this Tuesday its first assessment on the implementation of the Minimum Vital Income (IMV). The president of the organization, Cristina Herrero, has assured that "it is a difficult benefit to implement, it has achieved things but it still has room for action". In an extensive report, Airef estimates that 284,000 households have benefited from this aid, implemented in 2020, but highlights that at the end of last year, 400,000 households entitled to the IMV had not applied for it.
The Airef had entrusted in the law that develops the IMV the assessment of the implementation and the effects that this measure had and this Tuesday's is the first opinion that it issues in this regard. The body recognizes that it is a measure whose implementation has been "complex", although, in the words of Herrero, "progress" has already been achieved. However, the Tax Authority avoids making an assessment of the success or failure of the measure. However, he considers that "he has a long way to go".
The agency highlights that to date only 40% of households entitled to this measure have been covered. Airef recognizes that it is common in all countries that have provided this type of benefit that there is a large group that does not request it. Ignorance about this benefit or thinking that you are not entitled to it are some of the reasons that lead people who would be entitled to the IMV not to request it. This is what is technically known as 'non take-up' and in Spain it reaches 57%.
This group is made up of 400,000 households that meet the requirements set for its concession. The study carried out by Airef highlights that among the households that have not requested it are mainly those that do not have minors, since the IMV was applied automatically among those who received benefits for dependent minors. Thus, for example, 71% of households with one adult and 65% with two adults have not requested this help. In addition, Airef considers that having some type of rental income, even if it is from unemployment, makes it less likely that beneficiaries assume that they can apply for it.
By communities, the one with the highest level of 'non take-up' is Catalonia, where 69% of households entitled to aid have not applied for the benefit. They are followed by the Balearic Islands and Galicia, with more than 68%, according to data from Airef. Andalusia, Asturias and Cantabria, with 52%, are the regions with the lowest number of eligible households that have not applied for the IMV
The agency points out that currently 1,600 million euros have been budgeted, while reaching 700,000 potentially beneficiary households would raise the cost to 2,800 million euros. The Airef reaches 6,000 million euros the global cost of ensuring that there were no homes in poverty.
However, Airef points out that even in a scenario in which all potential beneficiaries received the benefit, there would still be 40% of households at risk of poverty without access to this aid. In the current situation, only 284,000 of 1.3 million households in this situation have received the IMV, 22%.
One of the aspects that Airef focuses on is the significant number of applications that have been rejected by Social Security: 975,000. 42% of the rejections have occurred for reasons of income, since the households exceeded the levels established by law. In second place, with more than 20%, are the reasons for registration, since the address of the applicant does not coincide with the one in which he is actually registered. Other reasons are those linked to assets, households that have greater wealth than that limited by the IMV.
Proposals to improve it
Airef concludes its report with a series of proposals to improve the implementation of this benefit so that it can expand the percentage of coverage. The first of these refers to the need to set a quantifiable and traceable target for coverage with the IMV. This includes regular statistical information being provided on the Social Security website.
The second of the proposals made by the agency is to review the limits of assets and the analysis of what the plaintiffs have. This is one of the main causes that leave households at risk of poverty out of access to the benefit, 30% according to Airef. Thus, it encourages studying the liquidity of this heritage and its real value, since on many occasions it comes from real estate assets. In line with this, the third of the proposals made by Airef is to review the reasons why applications are rejected and reformulate the requirements.
Another of the blocks of proposals of the Airef goes through simplifying the process to access the IMV. Thus, it calls on Social Security to review possible bureaucratic barriers, such as administrative language or waiting times to get an appointment. It also proposes analyzing alternatives that reduce the stigma of this benefit. The agency also considers that social services and third-sector organizations should be used to further publicize the existence of the IMV and encourage potential beneficiaries to request it.
Finally, among the measures that can be taken in the short term, Airef considers that the connection between administrations and the coordination of regional benefits and the IMV should be improved. In addition, establish measures to improve social inclusion and its complementarity with employment.
In the medium term, Airef points out that work must be done so that this benefit begins ex officio, so that your request is not necessary. The report considers that work must be done to improve the exchange of information between administrations to improve knowledge of the place of residence, the type of household, the level of income or the taxes of these households in the same repository. With this, the Administration could design a draft declaration, in which all the information on income, assets and household composition would be contained, both for those obliged to make it and those who are not. Once validated, the benefits to which one was entitled could be initiated ex officio, including the IMV.