Territorial inequality is one of the shortcomings that continue to weigh down the System for Autonomy and Care for Dependency (SAAD) and it is something that has become evident again in the year of the pandemic. In 2020, public investment stood at 8,907 million euros, 3.7% more than a year earlier, however, not all communities increased their funding, and four of them, the Community of Madrid, Castilla-La Mancha , La Rioja and Cantabria decreased spending. This is detailed in a new report from the Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services, a benchmark in the sector, which analyzes data from the Institute for the Elderly and Social Services (Imserso), the Ministry of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda.
The Government undertakes to inject up to 6,000 million into the Dependency system in the next three years
For its part, the central State increased spending on the system very slightly and went from 1,368 million euros in 2019 to 1,390 a year later, but its contribution to the total remained at 15.6%, the lowest proportion since the Dependency Law was launched in 2007. The greatest effort, as has been the case for years, was made by the communities, whose financing amounted to more than 7,517 million, that is, 84.39% of total spending.
However, neither Cantabria nor Madrid are among them; on the contrary, they were the ones that reduced them the most (4.6 and 3.6% less respectively) while Castilla-La Mancha and La Rioja invested 1.9 and 1.8% less. “The logical thing would have been to make a greater effort to serve the most vulnerable people in this complicated year, not the other way around. Cutting back on the year of the pandemic is something inexcusable, which no one can understand,” denounces José Manuel Ramírez, president of the Asociation. It is, in fact, what almost all the communities have done, although to different degrees: some such as Castilla y León, the Valencian Community, Extremadura or the Balearic Islands increased their budgets by more than 8% compared to 2019.
The data revealed by the association show the different management of the system at a time when a significant number of deaths due to COVID-19 could reduce the beneficiaries. It is something that has happened in all communities, and not all have cut their investment. In addition, the fall could have been compensated with new concessions that thinned the waiting list that has stifled the system since its inception or with “flexibilisations in care,” they point out from the association. “If a day center closes, his thing is not to save that money, but to pay attention at home. Or if an older person does not want to go to a residence, offer him another benefit,” exemplifies Ramírez.
In this sense, both in Cantabria and in Castilla-La Mancha and La Rioja the number of beneficiaries increased compared to a year earlier, but this was not the case in Madrid. The latter is the community with the greatest decrease (3.4% less) together with Catalonia and Extremadura, where they also fell. On the contrary, in the Valencian Community there was 17% more, while in the Balearic and Canary Islands they increased by 15% and 9%. Another piece of evidence of territorial inequality, points out the association, is the difference in investment per beneficiary person: according to its figures, the community that allocated the largest amount was Euskadi with 12,480 euros per year, practically double the one that invested the least, which It was Andalusia with 6,251 euros.
More than 55,000 died on the waiting list
The data analyzed by the Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services also reveal that the State contributed in 2020 only 15.6% of the public financing of the system. It is the lowest percentage since the Dependency Law was approved in 2007. And that despite the fact that the norm states that central Administration and communities must share 50% of the financing of these services and benefits.
State investment was reduced in 2012 with the cuts made by the Popular Party during the economic crisis, and from then on “it stagnated”, denounces the Association of Directors and Managers of Social Services. This despite the fact that the waiting lists have not been reduced and they are an endemic problem of the system. As of December 31, 2020, just over 230,000 people had the recognized right, but did not yet have a benefit. According to the association’s analysis, 55,487 people died on the agency’s waiting lists in the year of COVID. 21,005 of them pending resolution of degree and another 34,370 already valued and entitled, but waiting for the benefit.
The association welcomes that the coalition Government has committed in the General Budgets of 2021 an increase in financing of 623 million euros and asks the ministry to replicate in the next, currently under negotiation. That, at least, was the commitment of the department led by Ione Belarra: to increase the financing in the public accounts of 2022 and 2023 cumulatively, in total about 3,600 million.