Social Development Minister Victoria Tolosa Paz announced on Monday that more than 150,000 people who receive funds via the Potenciar Trabajo programme would have their benefits cut after not validating their identity.
Tolosa Paz, speaking one day after the deadline to authenticate information passed, said that those who had not complied with the requirement would be given a 60-day window in which to make their claim via the MiArgentina platform. However, they will receive 50 percent of the benefit starting next month.
Failure to resolve the situation within the next two months would lead to their removal from the programme entirely, she added.
The minister said that overall 89 percent of beneficiaries had validated their identity in the mass audit of the scheme and would receive their payment as usual. The remaining 11 percent, which Tolosa Paz said represented between 150,000 and 160,000 people, would receive half due to non-compliance next month.
Social benefits and welfare plans have long been a topic of debate in Argentina, both within the Economy Ministry and the portfolio led by Tolosa Paz.
Under the Potenciar Trabajo programme, which more than 1.2 million beneficiaries, the state pays half a minimum wage in exchange for work in cooperatives or local municipalities.
Critics say that there are thousands of irregular payments while the leaders of social organisations and movements have fiercely resisted attempts to trim benefits. The Unidad Piquetera movement says many of those who failed to validate their claims do not have a device or the connectivity to do so.
Argentina’s government also needs to cut social spending this year if it is to comply with the fiscal deficit targets outlined in the nation’s US$44.5-billion extended fund facility programme with the International Monetary Fund.