Welfare benefit in Peru awarded under unclear criteria, excludes those most vulnerable
A welfare benefit introduced by the Peruvian government not only relies on unclear eligibility criteria, but has been shown to exclude many.
Peru's Stay at Home bonus targets 2.7 million poor and non-extreme poor households. Those eligible are identified through the National Household Register, which categorises households into different bands. Among other factors, households categorised by the Register as being in poverty are deemed eligible to the benefit. However, the criteria used to define poverty are not publicly available, making it difficult for people to assert their entitlement to the benefit. Consequently, it is also unclear what data is used and/or generated to make a poverty assessment.
According to a report, the Peruvian Ombudsman Office received several complaints which reflect serious inclusion concerns. Several of those eligible were serving time in prison or resided in care homes, and therefore could not access the relevant cashpoints to receive the benefit. Others, while initially told that they were eligible, were subsequently removed from the register without explanation. Others were simply deemed not eligible, despite being in a situation of poverty.
These issues were compounded by mistaken assumptions made by government stakeholders that all beneficiaries had bank accounts, or that they lived in close proximity to banking facilities. These shortcomings were made apparent in complaints filed by individuals who did not have bank accounts or lived in rural/remote areas.
Writer: Peruvian Ombudsman Office
Publication: Peruvian Ombudsman Office report