Human Rights Center implements a project “Supporting Elderly during the Covid-19 Pandemic in Shida Kartli Region” under financial assistance of a project of United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and East-West Management Institute (EWMI) ACCESS. Within the Project, as significant problem for the elderly was identified an extreme economic hardship and a problem of access to the social subsidies. In the municipalities of Gori, Kareli, Khashuri and Kaspi, more than 200 lonely/living alone elderly were interviewed through direct visits. Most of them, due to financial problems, cannot afford to buy medicines and to resolve other vitally important problems.
One of the main problems for the lonely elderly is a physical movement. In order to receive the social aid (social allowance) defined by the authorities, the elderly has to apply to the territorial body of the Social Service Agency. To fill an application form it is necessary to provide:
- ID/residence card of (an) adult family member(s), and in case of minor member(s) birth certificate indicating personal number;
- Proof of guardianship or custody, or a notarized power of attorney, in case a persons who is not a family member files an application.
The majority of the beneficiaries interviewed note that it is difficult for them to apply to the Social Service Agency. They practically do not have the proof of guardianship or the power of attorney, because of which they cannot apply to the Agency through another person and do not have access to monetary social assistance. With insufficient human resources of the Agency (social agents), it is not possible to locally check those beneficiaries who are really in need of care from the State.
Under COVID-19 pandemic, the socio-economic conditions of the living alone elderly have particularly worsened even more complicated by the restrictions on transports.
It is also noteworthy the fact that the majority of the interviewed elderly were registered in a database of socially vulnerable families years ago, but for some uncertain reasons the social assistance seized to them; yet because of economic and physical conditions they could not apply to the Agency.HRC calls on Social Service Agency of Georgia:
Human Rights Center
- To take into account the special needs of the elderly, human and scarce financial resources and make the program more flexible, accessible and adaptable.
- To carry out extended coordination and mobilization of the social agents which would enhance the full implementation of social works and the persons with real needs could benefit from the State social programs.
- To introduce at Social Service Agency a mechanism of online application allowing lonely/living alone elderly to apply to Social Service Agency through supporters (supporters without documents) without physically approaching the Agency.