Update social security card and avoid the rush

Ke Jiayun
The local social security card service center is calling on some 2.1 million residents of Shanghai who haven't updated their old social security cards to do so as soon as possible.
Ke Jiayun

The local social security card service center is calling on some 2.1 million residents of Shanghai who haven't updated their old social security cards to do so as soon as possible in case there's a rush at the end of this year.

The old social security cards can no longer be used after December 31 this year. Data from the center shows that by June 21, the city had issued more than 14.7 million new cards since the card change program was launched in 2018.

But nearly 5 million of these card carriers haven't activated their cards yet. For these people, the center said they can have the cards activated either online or offline through online platforms, community affair centers or bank outlets.

Meanwhile, among the 2.1 million still carrying old cards, there are over 500,000 seniors aged above 60. Since the card is required for seeing a doctor and these people are usually frequent visitors to hospitals, the center suggests that seniors change the cards at their community centers or outlets of banks cooperating with this program.

So far there are 310 community affair centers across the city providing various services related to the social security cards. More than 3,000 outlets of 11 banks can accept an application for a card or card change and 505 of them allow the applicants to get a card at the site.

The new social security cards will not only have the functions for identity, employment and medical payments, but also financial functions such as deposit, bank transfer, consumption and money management. Local residents and migrants meeting standards can apply for the new card.

"According to the overall planning of the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security, the issuing of government subsidies, payment for social insurance and acceptance of its benefits will all be realized with the social security card. So the new cards are added with financial functions," said Zhu Liang, director of the social security card service center.

Kang Chun, deputy director of the center, told Shanghai Daily that the challenge they are now facing is how to get residents to change or activate their cards as soon as possible. 

"We have started to encourage residents to do so half a year earlier before the old cards' services stop because we have to prevent a peak with many people rushing to the centers or bank outlets to change or activate their card at the end of this year," Kang said.

At 3pm on Sunday, the community affairs center of the Linfen Road Subdistrict in Jing'an District and a neighboring outlet of Bank of Shanghai received many residents who sought services for the social security card.

A grandma living nearby said she was worried the card could no longer be used to pay her medical fees so she came for a new one.

Wu Jingwen, in charge of the bank outlet, said they had provided a special section for those requiring to apply for or change a social security card. 

"There will be no annual fee and no charge for a reapplication if you lose your card," Wu said.

Besides sending messages and making calls, the bank will also do promotions at nearby communities and visit elderly people who live alone to inform them of the card change.

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