Guaranteed minimum income beneficiaries

  •  30/11/2021
  • objective 
  •  assessment 
  •  SDG-I  

In 2020, a monthly average of 153,391 persons benefited from a guaranteed minimum income in Belgium. To achieve the sustainable development goal by 2030, this figure must decrease. Between 2003 and 2020, the trend is unfavourable (assessment of November 2021).

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Guaranteed minimum income beneficiaries - Belgium

thousand persons

average monthly number

 2003200520102015201920202020//20032020//2015
Belgium74.176.395.6116.1146.8153.44.45.7
//: Average Growth Rates

PPS Social Integration (2019), Bulletin Statistique Numéro 24 - Juillet 2019, p. 45 and PPS Social Integration (2020), direct communication, 20/10/2021.

Guaranteed minimum income beneficiaries by region - Belgium

thousand persons

average monthly number

 2003200520102015201920202020//20032020//2015
Brussels-Capital Region17.520.326.833.039.441.95.34.9
Flemish Region23.221.925.927.236.838.43.07.2
Walloon Region33.534.243.056.070.773.14.75.5
//: Average Growth Rates

PPS Social Integration (2019), Bulletin Statistique Numéro 24 - Juillet 2019, p. 45 and PPS Social Integration (2020), direct communication, 20/10/2021.

Guaranteed minimum income: average amount per year by category - Belgium

thousands of euros

 200620102015201920202020//20062020//2015
1: person living together5.05.86.67.47.63.03.0
2: single person or homeless (with integration contract)7.68.89.911.011.53.03.0
3: person with dependent family10.111.713.215.115.53.13.3
//: Average Growth Rates

PPS Social Integration (2021), Montants, https://www.mi-is.be/fr/outils-cpas/montants (consulted on 22/04/2021); calculations FPB.

Guaranteed minimum income beneficiaries by category - Belgium

thousand persons

average monthly number

 200620102015201920202020//20062020//2015
1: person living together37.441.444.856.059.03.35.6
2: single person or homeless (with integration contract)21.828.035.845.848.85.96.4
3: person with dependent family19.626.235.545.045.76.25.2
//: Average Growth Rates

 PPS Social Integration (2020), direct communication, 20/10/2021.

Guaranteed minimum income beneficiaries by sex - Belgium

thousand persons

average monthly number

 200620102015201920202020//20062020//2015
females46.754.864.879.182.64.25.0
males32.140.951.367.870.85.86.7
//: Average Growth Rates

 PPS Social Integration (2020), direct communication, 20/10/2021.

Guaranteed minimum income beneficiaries by age - Belgium

thousand persons

average monthly number

 200620102015201920202020//20062020//2015
<180.20.30.20.20.2-0.8-1.2
18-2422.228.034.747.050.16.07.6
25-4429.036.850.062.665.26.05.5
45-6424.927.628.633.834.82.44.0
>642.52.92.63.23.01.53.6
//: Average Growth Rates

 PPS Social Integration (2020), direct communication, 20/10/2021.

Definition: a beneficiary of the integration income receives an allowance called 'integration income' which, since 1 October 2002, is part of the right to social integration (the former 'subsistence minimum'). The guaranteed minimum income is the last social safety net that can provide a minimum income, allowing people with insufficient means of subsistence to lead a decent life. This income can be granted to persons without (substitute) income or whose (substitute) income is lower than the integration income, and who cannot claim another income on the basis of Belgian or foreign legislation, who usually and permanently reside in Belgium in a legal manner and who, unless their health or their specific situation does not allow it, are willing to work. From 1 December 2016, foreigners with subsidiary protection fall within the scope of the legislation in relation to the right to social integration. Persons aged under 25 must sign a contract for a personal project developed for social integration purposes. From 1 December 2016, people aged 25 or over who want to apply for a guaranteed minimum income must also sign such a contract. The age condition is set at 18 years but minors who are emancipated by marriage, who have at least one dependent child or who are pregnant may also benefit from it under the same conditions. Based on an analysis of the applicant's means of subsistence, a full or partial integration income is granted.

It should be made clear that there is no age limit in order to benefit from the right to social integration. A procedure is automatically started for beneficiaries of an integration income to obtain the income guarantee for the elderly (IGE) as soon as the person concerned has reached the legal retirement age. IGE is a benefit that persons of retirement age can receive if their monthly financial resources are less than a certain amount - separately fixed for single and cohabiting persons - and if they meet certain conditions regarding nationality and main residence (SPP IS, 2019; Service federal des pensions, 2019).The Public Centre for Social Welfare of each municipality examines, within the framework of the legislation in relation to the right to social integration, the applicant's means of subsistence and determines the most appropriate assistance in consultation with the applicant. This may consist in employment, full or partial integration income, an individualised social integration project or a combination of these instruments. The indicator is expressed in thousands of persons and the data are drawn from the Federal Public Planning Service Social Integration.

Since 8 January 2005 there are 3 categories of guaranteed minimum income beneficiaries, each with a specific amount, which will be allocated in full or in part depending on the means test carried out by the Public Centre for Social Welfare. These categories are a cohabiting person (category 1), a single person or a homeless person with whom an integration contract has been concluded (category 2) and a person with a dependent family, namely a spouse or partner, an unmarried minor child or several children including at least one unmarried minor child (category 3). Before 8 January 2005 there was also the category for single persons with maintenance or co-parenting obligations entitled 'Single person with a right to an increased amount'.

Between 2006 and 2020, the amount of the guaranteed minimum income on an annual basis increased for category 1 from 5,043 euros to 7,646 euros. The amount of the guaranteed minimum income on an annual basis for category 2 and 3 increased respectively from 7,564 euros to 11,469 euros and from 10,085 euros to 15,500 euros.

Goal: the number of guaranteed minimum income beneficiaries must decrease.

The Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs adopted by the UN in 2015 include target 1.3: "Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable".

The federal government agreement of September 2020 (Federal Government, 2020) states that the allowances will be increased towards the poverty line. It is assumed that this objective will have an influence on the evolution of the risk of poverty, for which it is stated that it must decrease in order to move towards the objectives.

International comparison: there are no harmonised data at EU level on this type of social assistance allowance.

UN indicator: the selected indicator is related to indicator 1.3.1- Proportion of population covered by social protection floors/systems, by sex, distinguishing children, unemployed persons, older persons, persons with disabilities, pregnant women, newborns, work-injury victims and the poor and the vulnerable. The guaranteed minimum income is, indeed, the very last social safety net to provide people with insufficient means of subsistence with a minimum income that should enable them to lead a dignified life. In that sense, it can be considered part of the aforementioned social protection floor or system.

Sources

  • General

    • SDGs, Sustainable Development Goals: United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 25 September 2015, document A/RES/70/1.

    • Indicators: United Nations (2017), Work of the Statistical Commission pertaining to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 6 July 2017, document A/RES/71/313.

    • UN Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform: https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/ (consulted on 24/09/2020).

    • Sustainable Development Goal indicators website: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/ (consulted on 24/09/2020).
  • Specific

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