Around 103,200 people will get social integration income (revenue d’intégration sociale, RIS) on a monthly basis in 2014, according to figures from the Public Services for Social Integration Programming unveiled on Friday. It’s an increase of 4,2% compared to last year, during which 98,820 people received it. The biggest increase is for those under 25 (+5,6%) and in particular students (+7,3%). The main reasons for this increase are the bad economic environment and the transfer from unemployment benefit to RIS, to limit the number of people on it. Young people with no professional experience are the worst hit by the crisis as they have more difficulty finding jobs.
“The CPAS are confronted with a growing task, giving young people a new chance to get into the job market. Which they are doing well seeing as the increase in the number of students is growing”, explains Julien Van Geertsom, president of the SPP Intégration sociale. Alexandre Lesiw, director of the CPAS service of the SPP, insists this is not a negative sign. “It is often young people who have had a chaotic career path who get back into the job market through this service”.
This progression is most noticeable in the five biggest cities in the country (Brussels, Antwerp, Liège, Gand, Charleroi).
The number of people receiving financial help, which are those who cannot apply for social integration assistance like asylum seekers, has gone down by 19,5% this year. The number of asylum seekers among them has gone down by 50%. “Today, they represent 10% of the beneficiaries, compared to 60% in 2005”, says Julien Geertsom. This drastic fall is explained by the end of the refugee crisis and new asylum and migration measures.