Digitization of social security is a strong weaponAccording to the 2016 Budget Request Report published by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance, next year’s budget will add up to 390 trillion won ($340.2 billion), including 122 trillion won allocated for health, welfare and employment. The sum is 4.1 percent up from this year’s 375 trillion won. The budget related to social security, such as health, welfare and employment, is expected to increase by 6.4 percent from this year. Last year, 10.4 percent of Korea’s GDP was used on social expenditure, still a small portion compared to the OECD average of 21.6 percent. However, the rate of related budget increase is 2.5 percent faster than the OECD average, as Korea’s average was 14.2 percent compared to the 6.3 percent OECD average in 2010.
Korea has prepared the basic frame of social security in a relatively short period of time by consistently injecting funds. Nevertheless, the social security net is still immature and blind spots still exist. Low wage levels and shortage of quality service supply have revealed limits. In the end, despite the overall expansion of social security, aging population, low growth and polarization are getting serious, and satisfaction and trust of the citizens haven’t improved much.
We are seeking a solution through the “digitization of social security.” The operation of the social security system is supported with advanced ICT technology. By integrating and utilizing various information, welfare blind spots exposed to risk are located and necessary resources can be provided. Information on various payments and services can also be provided. Standardization of related administrative processes can enhance efficiency and prevent wasting of welfare finance through integrated management. I cannot stress enough how important it is to pursue both qualitative growth and quantitative improvement for Korea’s social security system. For substantial growth, the digitization of social security will become a strong weapon, and the Korea Health and Welfare Information Service was launched in July for this cause.
by Won Hee-mok, President of the Social Security Information Service