"Movistar informs you that there is currently an overload in the network. Please dial again in a few minutes. Sorry for the inconvenience." This is the message that the applicants of the minimum vital income have heard over and over again on the telephone line enabled by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration in order to access aid.
This Monday the 15th, the first day the rent could be requested (from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the free phone number 900202222), there has been a barrage of calls that has impeded the normal operation of the switchboard of the National Institute of Social Security , and that access to the website has been knocked down at times.
According to the calculations of the minister José Luis Escrivá, around 850,000 households will be able to apply for admission in the coming weeks, so that the funds will reach 2.3 million people. During the first three months, the rent will be granted retroactive to June 1, but even so, the Ministry will have difficult management in the first weeks, since face-to-face management is not yet enabled, through the municipalities .
Why? Because an agreement has not yet been signed with the Spanish Federation of Municipalities and Provinces, so that the social services of the municipalities can process applications bureaucratically. It happens that the PP mayors have led a rebellion against having to bear the cost of managing aid. That management will imply a notable reinforcement of the local social services workforce, at a cost that would be around 200 million euros, and that the mayors believe that the Ministry - who is the one who grants the aid - should pay, and not them.
Each of the large consistories (those with more than 20,000 inhabitants) must hire new workers exclusively for the management, verification, monitoring and follow-up of aid. For example, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, mayor of Madrid, must hire 200 people and spend more than 15 million euros. The team of Jorge Azcón, mayor of Zaragoza, assures that the impact on his coffers will be 3.5 million, which forces him to hire 45 officials.
Escrivá summoned the mayors on Saturday afternoon to a meeting on the IMV for this Monday at 7:00 p.m., but he called it off today, "due to problems in the agenda of some mayors," according to sources from the Ministry of Inclusion. It will be moved to another day this week, probably Thursday. In that meeting, the main mayors governed by the PP - who have already launched a motion in this regard - want to demand that the cost of processing aid granted by another administration not be endorsed.
And they will do it for two reasons. The first, because they seem to assume a kind of improper competition. The second, because their social services would "collapse" as the ministry's telephone line has done today. "The only way they convince us to help is to give us resources," they cut short in the PP, where they calculate that the face-to-face management of aid in the consistories will not come until "within several weeks." In addition, Social Security cannot be attended without an appointment.
The Social Security website has also had moments of saturation, but it has worked "quite well" the rest of the time, they assure the Ministry. "The first days are usually quite complicated. And the traffic jam was only on the phone, not in the application (the web) to request admission, which has only had very specific moments of congestion, so at least the people have been able to apply, "they add.
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