Tbilisi Mayor accused of reducing children's assistance
By Gvantsa Gabekhadze
Thursday, February 2The Tbilisi Mayor's office has cut the disabled children’s pension, according to a statement released by the Christian Democrats on Wednesday.
Leader Zaza Gabunia held a press-conference with the organization Thoughtful Parents for Invalid Children and reported that the Tbilisi Mayor's office cut 10 GEL from the pension of disabled children, without consulting parents.
"Such a decision is not in the interest of disabled children and their families, as they [require] a greater sum and assistance, and even the insurance package, with its conditions, do not meet their needs,” Gabunia said. He appealed to the Mayor to reinstate the 10 GEL and expand the insurance package.
A representative from Thoughtful Parents for Invalid Children noted that state assistance for children was 80 GEL, but has since been reduced to 70 GEL.
In response to Gabunia’s claims, the Tbilisi Mayor's office explained that the 10 lari was never part of the assistance package, but an additional year-long program that has since ended. According to the head of the Tbilisi Mayoral Service and Cultural Department, Mamuka Katsarava, there will be a 20 GEL increase in the pension starting in September, and that the 10 GEL in question would be rolled into the existing insurance program. "In general, the Tbilisi Mayor's office has no right to increase or decrease pensions. We think that [our] decision was the best outcome, as insurance for disabled people is very important,” Katsarava maintained, adding that guardians of disabled children will receive a 120 GEL voucher in February to cover their gas and electricity bills.