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Based on the program, the needy families will be covered by national supportive organizations and receive a monthly pension.
Based on the program, the needy families will be covered by national supportive organizations and receive a monthly pension.

Gov’t to Launch Social Pension Scheme

In the first phase, those on the waiting list of IKRC and the SWO will be given priority. In the second phase, low-income families who have newly registered will be covered

Gov’t to Launch Social Pension Scheme

The monthly social pension program for low-income families as pledged by President Hassan Rouhani in his election campaign will be implemented during his second term that starts in August.
Rouhani, who was reelected last month, has promised to press ahead with economic reforms and promote social welfare, in an appeal to the underprivileged sections who make ends meet with government handouts.
Ali Rabiei, minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare, brushed aside media reports about cessation of the program, and said the registration process is continuing and data collection and assessment is going on.
“In the first phase, those on the waiting list of Imam Khomeini Relief Committee (IKRC) and the State Welfare Organization (SWO) will be given priority. In the second phase, low-income families who have newly registered for the pension will be covered,” he said, ISNA reported.
Based on the program, the needy families will be covered by national supportive organizations and receive a monthly pension. Whether the families are in need of the pension or not will be evaluated with the help of social workers after visits to their homes.
Assets of a family and their total income, plus their monthly cash subsidy should not surpass a specific amount for the family to be eligible for the pension. For instance, a family of five with a monthly income above 7.7 million rials ($204) is not eligible.
The official added that after completion of the first phase, it will be determined for how long the targeted groups will be under coverage and a framework will be set up to provide them with jobs so that they are empowered and removed from government dole.  However, those with permanent disabilities will continue to receive the social pension.
“This is a huge social project, a permanent plan,” Rabiei emphasized.
The SWO and IKRC are two state bodies with a mandate to alleviate poverty through empowerment programs and vocational education.
In the fifth economic development plan (2011-2016), the two entities were tasked with empowering 10% of the underprivileged under their coverage so as to gradually remove them from the support list. “However, the number of people receiving benefits far surpassed those who were empowered and removed from the list,” Ali Mohammad Zolfaghari, a senior official at IKRC had said earlier.
He pointed to a project implemented by the IKRC in which each a breadwinner is given aid to the tune of 40 million rials ($1,150), and an interest-free loan of 50 million rials ($1,500), to start self-employment schemes.

  Thousands Not Covered
There are nearly 2.65 million households not covered by any form of insurance.
The government’s monthly payment of cash subsidies (part of the Subsidy Reform Plan initiated by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2010) to the have-nots covered by SWO and IKRC rose from an average of 710,000 rials ($19) to 2.4 million rials ($64) in the Iranian month of Farvardin (March 21-April 20).
What they receive now is on top of the 450,000 rials paid in direct subsidy to more than 90% of all Iranians, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht,   head of Plan and Budget Organization had stated in May.
He denied rumors that the government planned to halt the monthly cash payments.
During the past fiscal year (ended in March) the government paid 410 trillion rials ($10.9 billion) in direct cash subsidies to about 70 million Iranians, 4.8 trillion rials ($128 million) in food aid and 5 trillion rials ($133.3 million) under healthcare. The government was forced to borrow from the treasury to fund the deficit between the revenues of the Organization of Targeted Subsidies ($9.7 billion) and cash subsidies ($11.2 billion) last year, he said.
Independent observers, respected economists and social scientists have often called for an in-depth review of the cash subsidy payment that has long become a bane of the national economic problems. Some scholars have been quoted as saying that the expensive monthly handouts are “poison for economic development” and should be discontinued or replaced sooner rather than later.

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