Despite the pledge made by Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s left-wing coalition government, which took office in January, the program to launch a minimum income scheme would seem to be at a dead end because of an ‘avalanche of applications’

Three months after he and his Podemos partners rushed to launch the scheme, in order to fight a spike in poverty due to the coronavirus pandemic, the program has made no progress whatsoever because of the sheer weight of requests.

According to a statement issued by the Department of social security on 20 August, 143,000 (19%) of the 750,000 applications which were submitted since 15 June when the government started accepting requests, have been examined, and 80,000 of those have been approved,

However, Spain main civil servant’s union, CSIF, say that is nonsense. “Nearly 99 percent of requests have not been processed,” according to union spokesman, Jose Manuel Molina.

“The problem is that they rushed everything, did it without training and there is a huge lack of staff,” he added. “The Social Security Ministry has only really analysed 6,000 applications while 74,000 households that already receive financial aid were awarded the basic income automatically.”

When the scheme was launched the government said all it would take is a simple online form, but this is a problem for many low-income families without computers and internet access, especially since the waiting time for an in-person meeting is about two months, according to the CSIF union.

The scheme guarantees an income of €462 per month for an adult living alone, while for families, there would be an additional €139 per person, whether adult or child, up to a monthly maximum of €1,015 per home. It is expected to cost state coffers €3 billion a year.

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