The stagnation of social services for the elderly and the reduction of resources dedicated to inclusion promote a protection system of “paper rights”, according to the president of the Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services, José Manuel Ramírez, who explained that many people do not receive the corresponding performance. “They simply publish advertisements and articles in bulletins.” This was claimed this Friday at the presentation of the DEC 2022 Index (IDEC), an annual report that assesses the situation of social assistance in Spain.
The number of public housing places has hardly increased since 2019, but the deterioration is more pronounced in the telecare sector, which does not reach 10% of the population over 65 years old. The data is also negative for the provision of household help, as this has only comprised 5% since 2018. The only positive data is reflected in the increase in assistance time per beneficiary. People in need of care now have at least 20 hours of care available per month.
According to the representatives of the association, the introduction of the minimum income to cover the economic deficits of individuals and families can allow the autonomies to allocate all the resources of their minimum income to promote social inclusion. However, social experts complain that the 1.5 billion euros corresponding to this minimum income have not been allocated to this type of social benefits. “There are autonomous communities that make money with the minimum income and with dependency. There is no law, it is inhumane,” claimed the study’s coordinator, Gustavo García.
The budgetary differences between the Spanish autonomies are important. The percentage of regional GDP that the public administrations of the Basque Country and the Canary Islands allocate to social services is three times that of the Community of Madrid. And while La Rioja has increased the number of recipients of its minimum inclusion income by 56%, Murcia has reduced it by 62%. The only point on which all the Autonomous Communities agree is the application of the new generation social services law – only the Autonomous Community of Madrid had to join and has already done so.
The IDEC evaluates all autonomies equally. Coverage is assessed using thirty indicators divided into three sections: recognized rights, economic investments and service coverage. Two autonomous communities, Castilla y León and Navarra, were awarded without waiting lists for dependents. At the bottom of the ranking are the communities of Madrid, Cantabria and Murcia.
Social service delivery improved from 2014 to 2021 and then stagnated. Nevertheless, the Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services has acknowledged to the government the importance of approving the budget increase in the long-term care system this year. García hopes for better results for the next study – which will be published next year – and emphasizes: “We have to reduce the rhetoric and increase the practice.”