Article 60 of the Constitution reads: “Everyone has the right to social security. The State shall take the necessary measures and establish the organization for the provision of social security”. In accordance with Social Security Institution Code SSK No. 5502, the SSK, Retirement Fund and BAĞ-KUR were united under one umbrella. The legal existence of these three institutions ended at the General Assembly of November 24th, 2006.
The tasks of the Social Security Institution (SSK), established in order to implement an effective, fair, easily attainable, actuarial, and financially sustainable social security system based on Social Insurance principles and modern standards, are explained in the code of foundation as follows:
To implement social security policies by considering national progress strategies and policies and the annual implementation programs; and to do work to improve these policies. To inform the real and legal entities for which it provides services about their rights and responsibilities; and to ease the exercise of the rights and fulfillment of their responsibilities. Concerning issues in connection with the social security; to follow international progress, to cooperate with the EU and international institutions, to do the necessary work concerning social security agreements to be made with foreign countries and to carry out the international agreements duly enforced. To provide coordination and cooperation among the public administrations in the field of social security.
As of end of 2007, the number of actively insured people by the SSK was 9,159,894 and the number of people receiving salaries from the SSK was 4,763,434.
On April 13th, 2006, a new law had passed the Parliament regarding “the establishment of Social Security Association” for bringing the three social security organizations under one roof. Concentrated works on solving the financing problems of the social security associations and restructuring of the organization is continuing. Within this frame, with the new law No. 5754, which is the “Law bringing some changes to the existing Social Securities and General Health Insurance Law (5510) and to some legislation”, some essential changes were made in the social security system. This way, the retirement age which is 58 for women and 60 for men, will gradually increase this to 65 by 2075. One of the new concepts introduced with this law is the General Health Insurance Scheme. With this, everyone in the country has been brought under the General Health Insurance Scheme and health services became available for everyone under the age of 18, without asking for any preconditions.
Unemployment insurance has been approved by Parliament with the passing of Law No. 4447 on August 25th, 1999 and hence incorporated into the Turkish work life.
Unemployment insurance, obligatory for all the insured, went into effect on June 1st, 2000. Under this arrangement the temporary income losses of unemployed people are met and income security is maintained, albeit for a certain period, making it easier to seek an appropriate job.
Social Services and Assistance: Under Law No. 2828 on Social Services and Child Welfare Establishment (SHÇEK), which went into effect on May 27th, 1983, the families, children, the disabled and the elderly who are in need of protection and assistance are given continuous protection and care for 24 hours. In addition community centers carry
out social assistance and family-youth-elderly consulting centers provide protective, preventive and educational services, such as adoption, guardian family, services for children living and/or working in the streets, and organization of contributions and the participation of the volunteers in all these fields.
The Directorate General of SHÇEK, functioning under this law, has been organized throughout the country and established Provincial Social Services Directorates in 81 provinces. The Directorate General of SHÇEK, functioning under a State Ministry, as of the end of 2007 had 95 Homes for Children Care, 110 Orphanages, 7,552 Oldage Homes, 43 Child and Youth Centers, 8 Observation Centers, 23 Women’s Shelters, 5 Solidarity Centers for the Elderly, and 40 Family Consultation Centers. In addition, there are 85 Affection and Children’s houses administrated by the Directorate of Child Care Houses and Orphanages. A total of 18,503 civil servants are currently serving in these institutions, including 8,826 special status and 9,653 permanent personnel, and 24 sign language translators.
Besides the current work, there are efforts to establish support mechanisms for families to overcome difficulties, for the purpose of focusing on the positive quantitative and qualitative improvements in the care provided by the institution. For that purpose, new legal arrangements have been made that will support children, women, the elderly and the handicapped next to their families, in their own locations and social environments.
The institution, in line with the new policy, hopes to prepare children for life in institutions that can work with them more effectively, and that provide natural house environments containing sufficient tools and equipment and physical spaces for training and social activities. In addition, new projects and policies are being developed for the elderly, handicapped, families, women, and society. The Directorate General of SHÇEK looks after the needy children at Homes for the Care of Children and Orphanages, the elderly in Old-age Homes, the handicapped in Rehabilitation Centers, maltreated women and women under the risk of being maltreated as well as their children, if present, are also cared for, protected and rehabilitated in the Women’s Shelters.
According to Law No. 3413, public institutions and agencies reserve one per thousand of their staff positions for youngsters who had been under the care and protection of one of the 110 orphanages of the Directorate General of SHÇEK until the age of discretion, and appoint the successful ones to these reserved positions following an exam held in the beginning of every year among these youngsters. Through this scheme, 1,141 youngsters have been placed in jobs in 2007.
In 2007, SHÇEK helped handicapped citizens in rehabilitation centers, 3,548 of which were helped in the 47 residential rehabilitation centers and 637 were helped in the 17 day rehabilitation centers. In addition, it has issued licenses for 10 private Care Centers for the handicapped.
SHÇEK also provides ocular and pecuniary aid, primarily to the children, people and families, who are in need of protection, care and help, within the budgetary limitations. In 2007, 28,681 people benefited from these aids.
“The Conditions of the Old-age People in Turkey and National Aging Action Plan”, which was prepared by the related public sector institutions, primarily the SHÇEK and non-governmental organizations, under the leadership of the State Planning Organization, was accepted by a decision taken by the Higher Planning Organization on May 1st, 2005 (no. 2007/17). Work on the fundamentals and frame of the implementation program of the aforesaid plan will be started in 2008.