How will Spain's new grocery money card work?

The Local Spain
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How will Spain's new grocery money card work?
€100 million allocated to basic material assistance for families with children who live in poverty in Spain. (Photo by Tolga Akmen / AFP)

The Spanish government is set to introduce a pre-loaded supermarket money card for vulnerable families with children in order to combat poverty and bypass the 'hunger queues' of handouts and food banks.


From April onwards, the Spanish government will provide the Red Cross with subsidies in order to be able to give out money cards to vulnerable families with children, which can then be exchanged in supermarkets for food and other essential goods such as hygiene products.

This was announced by the Minister for Social Rights, Pablo Bustinduy, who explained that the initiative is intended to allow families to bypass the 'hunger queues' of handouts and food banks and instead shop for themselves and their specific needs: "Families will be able to buy these products directly in the supermarket," Bustinduy said.

Child poverty in Spain is currently one of the highest rates in the entire European Union.

READ ALSO: How residents over 52 in Spain can get aid of up to €480 a month

The government estimates that this new aid will benefit up to 70,000 families, and is intended to provide vulnerable families with more flexibility and freedom.

Many of the families that qualify for the money card have previously been forced to rely on food banks, whereas the new card allows families to choose the products that they need, rather than what is given to them. It also solves the problem of supplying vulnerable families with fresh products, which are more difficult to store and distribute through food banks.

In total, there will be €100 million allocated to basic material assistance for families with children in poverty, of which €95.5 million will be allocated to food expenses and the rest to the "technical expenses of implementing the program."

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: The tax deductions you get in Spain for having a child

How much are they worth?

The amount of the cards depends on the number of family members:

One adult and one child: €130 (per month)
One adult with two children: €160
Four family members: €190
Five members or more: €220


Sources from Spain's Ministry of Social Rights have indicated that the adults do not necessarily have to be parents. They can be aunts, uncles, grandparents and any other adult who cares for the children.

Depending on the family's needs, the amounts are recharged for one, two or three months and can be maintained for up to a maximum period of one year.

How do I apply?

The social services in each region will determine which families qualify for the scheme. Afterwards, families must go to the Red Cross centres where they will be given the cards.


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