Social assistance system is nonuniform and unequal, broad reform to be launched

In at least 15 districts of the country, over 40% of the persons with disabilities do not have access to personal assistance services. There are districts in which the number of beneficiaries of social assistance during the cold season varies between 3% and 20%. According to the authorities, this inequality is illogical and is not correlated with the situation at the local level. To overcome this state of affairs, the whole social assistance system will be reformed, IPN reports.

Minister of Labor and Social Protection Alexei Buzu told a news conference that the social assistance system experienced three significant crises: COVID-19 pandemic, refugee crisis, and energy crisis. As a result, the number of persons who need assistance increased and the system reached a limit.

According to the minister, one of the problems is related to the cost of social assistance services and their quality. The cost of services varies a lot from district to district and the difference can significant. But there is no clear evidence showing that when the cost is higher, the quality is also higher. This points to the existence of inefficiency, ill will or to the lack of integrity in the system.

Alexei Buzu said the development of human resources in the field of social assistance is an aspect that needs to be devoted attention. “The salary of a social assistant is by only 16% higher than in the case of unskilled labor in the public sector at a time when the social assistants bear enormous responsibility and do extremely difficult work. In some of the districts, over 30% of the social system workers leave and perturbations appear as a result – the beneficiary families cannot receive basic support,” stated the minister.

Dan Perciun, chairman of the Parliament’s commission on social protection, health and family, told the same news conference that for society to be really inclusive, investments must be made in social services, including through this reform. Today, the financing of social services is intermittent and creates discontinuity in access. Together with the implementation of the reform, the whole package of social services will be financed with state budget funds and the oscillations will be eliminated this way. Also, the minimum package of social services will be extended, with special emphasis on older persons and children. Nine local social assistance agencies will be created instead of the current social assistance divisions of district councils and they will be managed by the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection.

“Together with the creation of these agencies, we will ensure uniform implementation of quality standards all over the country and will standardize costs,” noted the MP.

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