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Title: ESPN thematic report on inequalities on minimum income schemes - Malta 2015
Authors: Vassallo, Mario
Borg, Anna
Keywords: Income maintenance programs -- Malta
Basic income -- Malta
Public welfare -- Malta
Social security -- Malta
Malta -- Economic policy
Social policy
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: European Commission
Citation: Vassallo, M., & Borg, A. (2016). ESPN thematic report on inequalities on minimum income schemes - Malta 2015. European Social Policy Network (ESPN), Brussels: European Commission.
Abstract: Malta does not have a statutory minimum income (MI) scheme as such, but it does have a means-tested safety net, which provides grants in cash and in kind to those persons who are not eligible for social insurance benefits and to those whose entitlement may have expired. As such, Malta’s means-tested social assistance benefit may be considered a basic form of minimum income scheme. The means-tested unemployment assistance (which kicks in when the contributory unemployment benefit expires) is a second type of minimum income scheme. Single unmarried parents assistance is a third type. Non-contributory grants are available to Maltese and EU citizens who possess a permanent residence permit. The social security system has evolved over time and hence is rather fragmented. This means that it has not been reviewed holistically; but irrespective of this, there have been incremental improvements over time to support those most in need. Malta’s means-tested system is, however, based not on the single individual, but on the household. Thus an individual may not qualify for assistance if the household to which he/she belongs does not pass the means test. A comparison of seven case study scenarios involving different families that got by on the minimum income (with no other income) (McKay, 2012) showed that the income of six of the families fell quite far short of the 60% median national income – even when supplementary allowances were added to the basic non-contributory assistance rate. The biggest shortfalls were found in households made up of parents (either two or a single parent) receiving social assistance, with two dependent children and living in a commercially rented dwelling. This suggests that the weekly rent allowance of EUR 1.16 for families is totally inadequate, given the commercial rents. Issues of adequacy are very obvious, and whenever an individual is in need but is living in a larger household which does not pass the means test, other issues arise – so that people have been known to register as the head of the household at a fake address, simply to be able to gain access to benefits.
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