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Overview of the Mongolian Social Security System

Social work is a contextual professional practice as Hugman (2010: 8) states,

… the form of social work that is possible in any particular location is structured by the type of welfare regime in that country. Thus it can be argued that the possibilities for social work are circumscribed by national borders ….

The social security system in Mongolia is regulated by the Constitution of Mongolia (1992), Family Law (1999), Civil Health Insurance Law (1993), Law on Social Insurance (1994), Law on Social Welfare (1995), Law on Social Security for the Elderly (1995), Law on Social Security for people with a disability (1995), and Labor Law (1999), Law on Protection of Children's Rights (1996), and so on. The social protection policy in Mongolia aims to improve the quality of life of the population including children, the elderly, women, persons with disabilities, and unemployed people by increasing their health and income security and reducing poverty.

The Economic Growth Support and Poverty Reduction Strategy (2003), Social Security Master Plan (2003), Millennium Development Goals of Mongolia (2005), Millennium Development Goals based on Comprehensive National Development Strategy (2008), and Action Plan of the 'Reform' Government (2012–2016) identified strategies for the country aimed at promoting social and
human development and reducing poverty. In 2004 Parliament approved the State Policy of Mongolia on Population Development. It included policies for children, youth, families, older people, women, people with a disability, and families.

Moreover, there are numerous National Programs of Action related to issues of population groups and social problems such as combating human trafficking, HIV/AIDS, unemployment, domestic violence, and promoting gender equality. In 2009 Mongolia endorsed the National Strategy on Ageing which encourages multi-sectoral responses to ageing. The current framework of social security policies and programs is enforced by the Social Security Master Plan approved in 2003. It declared the establishment of a social security system with objectives for better community-based social care, better access to services and information, sustainable livelihood, greater community involvement, cooperation with nongovernmental and government organizations, and research on solutions to existing social problems.

Similar to the popular international scheme, the social security system of Mongolia consists of policies and programs on social welfare, social insurance, and service provisions for all population groups. Social security policy implementation is governed at the national level by the Ministry of Population Development and Social Welfare. There is no regional structure even though Mongolia consists of five regions: Western, Central, Khangai (Highland), Eastern regions, and Ulaanbaatar as an independent region. Local governments, at aimag and soums in provincial areas and in districts and khoroos in Ulaanbaatar, are responsible for implementing national social security policies in their respective areas. A Livelihood Support Council which is responsible for identifying and selecting beneficiaries for social welfare assistance, benefits, concession, and other services is operated in each local community. Social workers serve as a focal person in this structure.

The government policy framework for social protection of its people consists of three main components: prevention (social insurance system), communitybased care, and residential care reform. Mongolia has a relatively new system of social assistance and insurance targeted at needy population groups. According to the Laws on Social Insurance, the contributory pension is given to people to protect them from contingencies of retirement and disability and to provide social guarantees for workers, consideringtheir years of work, average wage, contributions to pension insurance, and working conditions. The implementing body is the General Authority for Social Insurance. According to the Laws on Social Welfare, poor and vulnerable people are entitled to a social pension and assistance and this scheme aims to provide social protection for vulnerable groups such as elderly, women who are head of a household, children in difficult circumstances, homeless people, and people with a disability. The implementing body is the General Office of Social Welfare Services. Beneficiaries of social pensions and other assistance are identified on the basis of assessment of livelihood circumstances.

This livelihood assessment includes measurements of household capability such as whether a person lives in an urban or rural area, their education level, number of household members, their employment status, housing conditions, and
measurements related to the economic situation of a household. These can include property ownership, number of livestock, use of transportation, receipt of social assistance, other benefits and services, and the vulnerability of the family – for example, if there is disabled member, orphan child, female head of household, bed-bound member in the family. Categories of social pension, concession, and pecuniary aid include social pension; monetary allowance to caretaker; discount in housing rent, fuel, wood and coal; provision of prosthetics, orthopedic aids, hearing appliances, wheelchairs, walking sticks,and so on; residential care; and cash benefit for the honored mother who has four and more children. According to the MSWL annual report (2011), the MSWL distributed allowances of 27.6 billion MNT (Mongolian national currency, tugrug) to 56,700 people in 2010. The amount of monthly social welfare allowances was raised 3.8 times between 2004 and 2010. In addition, community-based welfare services are provided to vulnerable people, including services such as rehabilitation services, home care, awareness and skills training, and liaison for involvement in the labour market. Along with the government, international and domestic nongovernmental organizations play a vital role in meeting people's needs and enhancing their well-being. Food, clothing, shelter, micro credit loans, skills training, domestic violence victim counselling services, and small financial grants are provided to vulnerable people and families.

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