The social safety net also weakened drastically in the first years of independence. Beginning in 1989, a large share of national expenditures on welfare services went to the victims of the earthquake. In the early 1990s, Armenia nominally retained the Soviet-era system of social services (retirement, survivor, and disability pensions; allowances to the parents of newborn children; sick and maternity leave; unemployment compensation; and food subsidies). In the early 1990s, however, acute budget shortages brought severe cuts in almost all the social welfare programs of the Soviet era and their replacement by intermittent foreign aid programs. The Ministry of Labor and Social Security allocates social benefits and charitable aid from outside the country. In 1993 only 35 percent of those officially considered unemployed received jobless benefits.
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