New computer system to keep tabs on welfare claims
Updated: 2013-08-26 07:34
By Fan Feifei (China Daily)
Beijing is to introduce a computer system accessible by various governmental agencies that will help verify the economic circumstances of recipients of low-income allowances, so that welfare spending can be targeted at those most in need.
The municipal government will launch an online platform to promote information sharing among different government departments so that they can verify the eligibility of those on the dole, according to a directive on improving social relief services issued on Friday.
The relevant departments will include housing, civil affairs and human resources authorities, it added.
Community officials will be urged to carry out household surveys on those receiving welfare payments. District and county civil affairs authorities should randomly check at least 30 percent of all applications in their areas of administration, the directive said.
To enhance transparency in applications, the economic conditions of families and the amount of subsidies they receive will be made public in the recipients' local communities. A regular reporting mechanism will be launched to track any changes to their income.
As to the people who defraud the social welfare system, the directive said the government is researching means of punishing those found guilty. Meanwhile, those who provide falsified documents to obtain allowances will be punished in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations.
The minimum subsistence allowance for the average person in an urban Beijing household is 580 yuan ($95) per month.
Li Xin, a staff member at the Youanmen sub-district office in Beijing's Fengtai district, said the system could be used to prevent benefit fraud, as well as stopping people obtaining allowances dishonestly through their connections - known as guanxi.
Zhang Youqin, an expert on sociology and social work from Xiamen University, agreed that the new system could help reduce fraud, thus freeing up more money for those in real need.
Earlier media reports said the nation will establish a verification mechanism for allowances, which will be fully operational by the end of 2015.
He Dan contributed to this story.