Armenians line up to receive social security cards

Jan 12 2004


YEREVAN, JANUARY 12, ARMENPRESS: Armenian labor and social affairs
minister Aghvan Vardanian told reporters today, after meeting with
president Robert Kocharian, that some 1.6 million Armenians have
already received social security cards out of 2,2 million people who
have applied.
He said more people are lining up at regional labor and social
affairs centers to apply for cards, after the ministry warned that
wages, social benefits, pensions and other allowances will be paid
only to card holders.
He said introduction of the system has not and will not create
problems neither for people nor the ministry and other government
agencies, but added that there are people who are trying still to
impede the full operation of the system.
The government first suggested to introduce the system of social
security cards last year and the first bill appeared as “identity
cards”. According to the reform, each Armenian citizen must have the
lifetime card with a 10-digit number of a citizen’s personal data,
which will be used for opening a bank account, paying taxes, applying
for state benefits and identification at healthcare facilities.
The government said the cards would increase the efficiency of
state-run agencies and help it reduce the volume of corruption,
however, the idea was opposed strongly by the Armenian Church, whose
main counter-argument was that the name “identity card’ must be
replaced by another one, as the word “identity card” contradicts
Biblical precepts, found in the New Testament Book of Revelation. The
government met halfway this demand and changed the name of the
“identity cards” into “social security cards.”
According to the law, the use of the cards is mandatory for all
financial transactions including receiving pensions and family
benefits, paying taxes and social insurance.

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