Activity report 2023 of the Unified Social Service presented to the Prime Minister
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Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the Unified Social Service of the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs to participate in the discussion of the activity report 2023 of the Service.
The head of the Unified Social Service, Eduard Petrosyan, and his deputies presented the works carried out in the field of labor and social protection, as well as the analysis and comprehensive information on the results indicators of the 2023 budget. It was presented that the sectoral functions in Yerevan and regions are organized through 49 regional centers of the Service.
During the previous year, the number of active beneficiaries who benefited from social assistance through the Service at least once or applied to the Service for assistance was 501,329 persons, which is 21.3% or 87,966 persons more than in 2022.
It was noted that the Service continues to provide family, social benefits, and quarterly emergency assistance based on the assessment of the insecurity of families in order to help raise the living standard of families or prevent its deterioration.
Reference was made to the 2021, 2022 and 2023 statistics of families registered in the system of insecurity assessment who receive benefits, which shows that in 2023 the number of families receiving benefits has decreased (the difference between 2021 and 2023 is 18% or 15.799 families). The downward trend is due not only to the increase in the standard of living of families or the decrease in the number of difficult life situations, but also to the more targeted and professional work of regional centers.
Prime Minister Pashinyan inquired as to why the number of beneficiary families has decreased. "The number of our beneficiary families has decreased by 18 percent, that is, this is only at the expense of the administration, that those families who should not receive benefits, but they did, we went, found them and removed them from the lists," said the Prime Minister.
Those in charge noted that from 2021 the number decreased to 82 thousand, and thus the dynamics was preserved. It was noted that the number of applicants for benefits also decreased by 7-8 thousand. "In other words, people who have to come and apply to be registered every year, supposedly they understood that there is no point in applying," said the head of the service.
Responding, the Prime Minister noted: "But let's consider that too, dear colleagues, well let's say, let's assume that one year the economic growth is 5.5 percent, one year is 12 percent, another year is 8 percent, it should be expressed in a certain way. There are objective data, let's say, for example, the revenues of the state budget, it is an objective data and the growth of these objective revenues must be expressed here in some way. Of course, in many cases, unfortunately, not to the extent that both they and we would like, but still, it should be reflected. I mean, you look at it from that point of view, you say that they thought there is no point in applying. In other words, it means something else, that the assessment group will come and see that the citizen applied in vain. In other words, it depends from which perpspective we approach the issue."
Those in charge noted that for documentation, everyone is required to apply for benefits every year.
Nikol Pashinyan noted that the decrease in the number of applicants by 8,000 is another data that again speaks of economic growth.
It was also noted that in 2023, 49 regional centers of the Service implemented assessment of the urgent primary needs of 48,614 people forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of the aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan after September 19. 2 coordination centers functioned under the coordination of regional centers: in the regional center of Shengavit and in the House of Culture of Parakar, under the coordination of the Regional Center of Vagharshapat. Assessment of the needs of the displaced persons was carried out in these centers, consultations were provided regarding support programs and relocation to a place of temporary residence.
As of February 8, 419 applications have been approved and 214 have been qualified for the project of construction of houses in the bordering communities through the provision of 16 million AMD.
The Prime Minister noted that there is a trend now that people from other settlements are buying land in the border village and want to become beneficiaries of the project.
Those responsible stated that there is no restriction.
"At the same time, when I communicate with people, I see that this has multiple effects, which, I don’t know how much we have taken into account, but the first of them is that people in villages do not allow their own people to go to work abroad. They say they should stay and build their own houses. Secondly, it brings economic activity, because when one house is being built in a village, people go and make the necessary purchases in the regional center or in Yerevan and bring what they bought to the village. Now, when several houses are being built in villages at once, services and businesses are already appearing. Retail trade comes to the village because those who are engaged in this trade see that certain processes are taking place. And I think these processes are also very important and useful. Even if they build these houses as a summer cottage, they end up going to the village several times during the year, buying chickens, eggs, meat, and this can have a significant effect on the economic activity of the village. And yes, guest houses are also being built, which is normal. I think that we must implement this program as effectively as possible,” Nikol Pashinyan emphasized.
Details were also presented about the planned reforms in the field of social support, in particular, the introduction of the new system for assessing insecurity, its advantages, the development of the capacities of social workers in the context of case management, the improvement of the 114 hotline, and the processes of in-depth assessment of the needs of families displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Reference was made to the works carried out by the structure in the direction of employment in 2021-2023. In particular, it was noted that during 2023, 86,842 job seekers received consultation on employment issues in regional centers. The Unified Social Service collaborated with 18,268 employers. Although the current legislation does not establish a mandatory norm for employers to provide information about vacancies to the Unified Social Service, nevertheless, as a result of established partnerships, as well as the employer’s social responsibility, 12,421 vacancies were collected, including 1,317 new jobs. The number of vacancies collected by the Service has increased by approximately 50% compared to 2021.
As a result of cooperation with employers and partners, 16,933 people received job offers in 2023, an increase of 110% compared to 2021 10,878 people found a job last year, an increase of 7.5% compared to 2021. It was noted that the number of employed persons registered in the family insecurity assessment system is 3,792, of which 2,961 people receive family benefits. 3,733 people were employed under employment programs.
Prime Minister Pashinyan noted: “We are creating value again, but I think we need to introduce a new component here. This is an cunsulting component designed to help people figure out what to grow and how to grow. This is very important, based on the climatic characteristics of the area and so on.”
Current and upcoming employment initiatives were also touched upon: modernization of the automated information system for employment functions, development of professional capabilities of employment specialists, implementation of employment programs and cooperation with employers.
In the context of introducing the system for assessing human functionality and providing support measures, it was noted that in 2023, 38,182 citizens were recognized as disabled, of which 9,611 people underwent a functionality assessment for the first time.
Prime Minister Pashinyan asked whether the new system for assessing human functionality can be considered successful.
Those in charge gave a positive answer and noted that from January 1, 2024, the processes of re-examination under the new system have already begun.
The decision-making process about human functionality is almost completely automated, and human factor is reduced to almost zero. “That is, this year only 68% of those who were assessed using the new system received a positive conclusion. This is an incredible indicator. For example, we have struggled a lot, including in the criminal legal sphere, released a large number of people, achieved 80 percent accuracy,” noted the head of the Unified Social Service.
Works in the field of social security were presented. It was noted that statistics on the acceptance of applications in the regional centers of the Unified Social Service in 2021, 2022 and 2023 show that more applications were accepted in 2023, which is associated with a number of legislative changes made in 2023.
Simplification of administration and upcoming initiatives were also touched upon. It was reported that about 22 thousand forcibly displaced persons from Nagorno-Karabakh have already received pensions, and about 1,200 forcibly displaced persons have received social benefits.