The Spanish Ministry of Labor and Social Security administers welfare and employment assistance.
Approximately 40 million Spanish citizens deal with the Ministry for benefit payment, information or in search of employment.
The Ministry needed to reduce administrative costs, improve customer service and modernize its image. As a result, the Ministry is making radical changes to its welfare and health services administration by issuing a new social security smart card for all individuals and dependents in Spain. The card can be used to access a range of government services and information, and to conduct transactions at social security offices and health care centers.
The project is currently being rolled out in Andalucia, a large region in southern Spain, and is accessible to 7 million users. From 1996 to 1999, some 40 million new cards will be introduced nationally.
With smart card technology, citizens can manage their own benefits more conveniently, process routine transactions and access their personal government records at self-service terminals rather than government offices. The use of smart card technology increases government staff availability for other activities, and makes information about government programs and policies more accessible to the public. The system improves control over fraud, particularly for unemployment and incapacity benefits.