A fully automated system to be put online perhaps by the end of the year will solve the problem of long delays in the processing and payment of benefits, Labor Minister Zeta Emilianidou said on Tuesday.
Speaking in parliament, Emilianidou acknowledged the slowness with which claims for benefits are processed.
MPs harassed the government for promising since 2017 to solve the problem but failed to keep its promises.
House Labor Committee chairman Andreas Kafkalias asked government officials to imagine themselves as retirees who have to move from one paycheck to another.
In many cases – such as sickness or unemployment benefits – it takes four to eight months for applicants to receive the funds. With pensions, it can take over a year.
The Department of Social Insurance Services receives some 240,000 claims per year.
According to Emilianidou, the switch to automation will save a lot of time. Currently, when incomplete documents are filed, they go back and forth, dragging out the process.
But under the envisioned new electronic system, incomplete applications will simply not be processed – applicants will therefore have no choice but to get it right.
Emilianidou seemed confident about the transition to automated processing and payments. She cited the example of pandemic relief where funds were paid into the bank accounts of some 200,000 people – in many cases within 10 days of filing a claim.
For his part, Deputy Minister of Research, Innovation and Digital Policy Kyriacos Kokkinos said the civil service in general is lagging behind – using computer systems dating from the 1990s and even the 1980s. .
The government’s e-reform project will take at least two years, he added. In this they are advised by experts from UK and Germany.
Regarding the labor department specifically, Kokkinos called it the âbiggest clientâ of his ministry in terms of the volume of transactions carried out.