Spain approves guaranteed minimum income scheme

The government has released details of who will be eligible for the programme, how it will be managed and how it will be funded.

Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash
Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash
4 June 2020, Emma Donaldson

The Spanish Government has recently approved a guaranteed minimum income scheme (“ingreso mínimo vital”) set to help 850,000 of Spain’s most vulnerable families amounting to around 4.89% of the population. The scheme, payable from 15th June 2020, is a plan headed by Spain’s PSOE and Podemos coalition to release people from a state of severe poverty, according to the government, and will be “a general mechanism to guarantee earnings for families with no or low income”. There are several questions surrounding the scheme: who is eligible, how much income is available, can expats apply; the list goes on. Let’s have a look at the most frequently asked questions and clear up any doubts.

How much is the minimum income?

The income available for those in need is not a set amount and depends on a family’s income and overall situation of need. The minimum rate will be 462 euros per month for adults who live alone, reaching up to 1,015 euros for larger family units. Take note that the scheme will complete family income to those levels, rather than always paying out that amount.

Who is eligible?

To be able to apply for the minimum income scheme, you must have lived in Spain for at least one year, and be aged between 23 and 65. Alternatively, if an applicant has a dependent child or children, they must be at least 18 years of age. Over-65s are not included and fall into a different category since they are of State pension age.

To be eligible, families must be in a vulnerable financial situation. What does this mean? To be defined as “vulnerable”, a household must have an income if below 10,070 euros per year, or 839.17 euros per month. The assets of eligible applicants cannot be worth more than 30,210 euros and it is important to note that this does not include the main family home. This means that if an applicant has already paid off their mortgage or inherited the property, for example, they are still allowed to apply for the scheme. However, owning a second home worth more than this figure means that someone is not eligible.

Can migrants apply? 

Yes, expats or migrants who have been living in Spain legally for at least one year and have all the necessary paperwork are eligible apply for the guaranteed minimum income if they also meet the criteria mentioned above.

Do I have to be looking for a job to apply?

Spain’s Social Security Minister José Luis Escrivá has emphasised that it is his and the government’s intention to make sure that this minimum income scheme is indeed compatible with paid work and wants it to be a way of fighting against employment poverty. Therefore, it is his wish that those who are unemployed and want to take advantage of the scheme must be registered as job seekers. However, this is a statement that has been rejected to date and has not yet been passed as a legal requirement for applying to the scheme.

How can I apply?

The deadline to start the applications will start in on 15th June 2020, with the National Institute of Social Security responsible for the recognition and control of the benefit. The processing of the procedure will be carried out electronically: a form should be filled out on the Social Security website, under the Ingreso Mínimo Vital (IMV) section, or the required paperwork can also be sent via email. More information can also be requested or doubts cleared up by calling the 900 telephone number.

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