In 1985 some 47 percent of Georgia's budget went to support
the food, health, and education needs of the population. Social
services included partial payment for maternity leave for up to
eighteen months and unpaid maternity leave for up to three years.
State pensions were automatic after twenty years of work for
women and twenty-five years for men. As inflation rose in the
postcommunist era, however, a large percentage of older Georgians
continued working because their pensions could not support them.
In 1991 the social security fund--supported mainly by a payroll
tax--provided pensions for 1.3 million persons. The fund also
paid benefits for sick leave and rest homes, as well as
allowances for families with young children.
In 1992 subsidies were in place for basic commodities,
pensions, unemployment benefits, and allowances for single
mothers and children. At that time, a payroll tax of 3 percent
was designated to support the national unemployment fund.
Deficits in the social security fund were nominally covered by
the state budget, but budget shortfalls elsewhere shifted that
responsibility to the banking system. In 1992 increased benefit
payments and the decision not to increase the payroll tax eroded
the financial base of the fund.
Data as of March 1994