"The number of files filed has increased more than sixfold since January 2018"

Secretary of State Christelle Dubos, during a visit to a Caf. - Ministry of Health
  • The amount of the activity bonus allocated to certain employees around Smic must be increased to 90 euros.

  • The first installment will be held on February 5th for those who completed their application by January 25th.

  • About 280,000 cases were completed in January.

This is the emblematic solution of the executive to try to respond to the crisis of "yellow vests": increase the amount of the
Activity bonus, paid to workers with modest incomes. It will not affect all Smic employees - those in high-income households are excluded - but some 5 million households can now benefit in theory.

Exclusively for 20 minutesChristelle Dubos, Secretary of State to the Minister of Solidarities and Health, unveils the latest figures on activity bonus applications. It also reaffirms its desire to better support people in difficulty, recalling that "no one is satisfied with being poor".

The expansion of the activity premium to 1.2 million additional households has been effective since 1 January 2019. Has there been an influx of applications?

Since the beginning of the year, more than 280,000 cases have been processed by the family allowance funds (CAF) and will lead to a payment of the activity premium from next month. Compared to January 2018, the number of files filed has increased more than sixfold. This means that our citizens have seized this favorable measure for their purchasing power and this is good news.

I remind you that to receive a premium payment on February 5, you must have submitted your application online before January 25 in the evening. The people who will fill their file after this date will have a payment at the beginning of March. The goal is that 100% of people who are entitled to the activity premium - 5 million households now - can reach it in the long run.

About 20% of people who are eligible for the activity bonus do not claim it. How to solve this problem ?

By automating its payment. We are in the process of evolving the CAF's IT services so that there is consolidation with the tax services, which will prevent beneficiaries from having to report their resources every three months. This is part of the work of the overhaul of benefits. The law is expected for 2020. Within two years, the goal is that we can file a single file to benefit from all benefits.

The government had repeatedly promised that all Smic employees would be affected by the increase in the activity premium. This will not be the case for those whose spouse earns much more. You regret it?

We are responding to a demand for the "yellow vests" movement, which is social justice. If we had made the choice to pay the activity premium to all employees paid Smic, this would have led to an increase in overall income for households where one of the spouses earns, for example, more than 4,000 euros monthly.

That's not what we want. We want the French who need it the most, to benefit from the activity bonus, according to their family characteristics - single, single-parent families. We have chosen to increase the amount but also to increase the number of people concerned, beyond the Smic, for people who get 1.3 or 1.4 Smic.

You therefore assume that the household's income is pooled. This is not necessarily the case ...

For the calculation of social benefits and family benefits, it is the household income that is taken into account. We do not change current practices. Our social system is built on the principle of solidarity between people who have chosen to live together.

What do you expect from the great national debate launched Tuesday by Emmanuel Macron?

We must transform anger into solutions. You can not have a dialogue while you're angry, as long as you're in the street. We worked on important reforms with consultations, but perhaps not enough directly with the French. This great debate should allow us to renew dialogue and restore confidence in politics.

I am waiting for constructive proposals that do not go against all that the country has been able to bring. Abortion, the death penalty, marriage for all, this is not the debate. We must discuss the issues that have been of concern in recent weeks: taxation, social justice, public spending, environmental issues, citizenship. I will take my part in this debate.

But in the end, will citizens' demands be translated into law?

It depends on the proposals that will come out of the debate. In the parliamentary calendar, we have times when we need to introduce new measures by law. On the other hand, there will not only be legislative: there will be common sense measures that will not require legislation - a regulation, for example, will suffice.

The President of the Republic is committed to a synthesis and a restitution. I am sure that the measures that will emerge from the great debate will be measures that will respond to the concerns of the French and that will be adaptable to each of the territories.

You are a specialist in poverty issues. Where is the deployment of the poverty plan launched last September?

Out of ten departments that have to experiment with contracting with the state, we have already signed three agreements. Our goal is to have completed the agreements with all departments before the end of the year. In parallel, we will launch a dialogue on the universal income of activity and on the public service of the insertion, to simplify the accompaniment of the people who need it. Things are moving forward.

In this regard, how do you interpret the words of the President of the Republic, for whom some people in difficulty "disconnect"?

I think we have to repeat the whole thing. Emmanuel Macron spoke of several things and in particular the means to be provided under the poverty plan, and the need for support. He said that people were doing very well thanks to the accompaniment, and that others did not because there was no accompaniment.

The reality is that you have actresses for their accompaniment and others who are not. When you are left alone, you do not know what door to push to find the solution to your problems, we can not blame you for not getting out of it.

Are people in difficulty, precarious people, partly responsible for their situation?

No. The real question is how to properly integrate these people and involve them in their support for employment. My priority is to get 8 million French out of poverty. When you have people that you accompany to training, to reintegration, to work, they open up, regain their dignity. Nobody is satisfied with being poor.

>> Who will be affected by the increase in the activity premium?