One Third of Armenia On Welfare

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"The welfare system introduced in Armenia on January 1 is meant for 230,000 families. If these there 3-5 members per family on average–its safe to assume that a third of the population in our republic receive family allowances," Social Welfare Minister Razmik Martirossian announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

According to the minister 230,000 families had already been included in the system by May. In June and July 22,000 additional families received allowances. An increase of 5,000 families is expected by the end of July. By the end of the month–the number of families included in the system will reach about 260,000.

Martirossian reported that about 25 to 30 percent of the 260,000 families are not needy and should not be on the lists. The Ministry of Social Welfare is seeking funds to "purify" the lists and use the allowances in a targeted manner. 11,000 families lost their rights to allowances this year–and 10,000 additional families will be withdrawn from the system this month. Another 15,000 families will lose their right to allowances after appropriate changes are introduced in the methods determining the degree of neediness. Also–measures will be taken to reduce fraud.

The minister reported that this year’s budget provided 21 billion drams to be issued to needy families–as compared to only 14 billion drams budgeted last year.

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