Georgia transformed social assistance from a corrupt and badly-funded system into an efficient and well-targeted scheme which took into account the needs of vulnerable groups. In 2007, the country began to move towards targeted social assistance. In-kind benefits were replaced by direct cash transfers for the poorest households, the latter being identified either by self-identification or through a careful on-the-spot evaluation and calculation. Targeted social assistance improved the situation of the neediest parts of Georgia’s population, and at the same time resulted in more efficient and better targeted public expenditure.
Funding for targeted social assistance increased ten-fold between 2006 and 2013, and thanks to more efficient and targeted funding schemes, the proportion of Georgians living in poverty was reduced from 20.1% in 2007 at the moment of introduction to 14.8% in 2012.