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Regulations on penalties when buying and selling social insurance books in Vietnam

In Vietnam, the action of buying and selling social insurance books is not a rare case. This situation has repeated itself over the years countless times with no signs of stopping. However, there are many consequences of this action that the buyer and the seller may not know. So, what are the regulations on penalties when buying and selling social insurance books in Vietnam?

Although the employee has the right to authorize another person to receive pensions as well as social insurance benefits according to the provisions of Clause 6, Article 18 of the Law on Social Insurance of Vietnam, it doesn’t insinuate that the action of selling the Social Insurance book is allowed. 

The regulation allowing the authorization is mostly created to facilitate the older employees who may have lost their abilities to request the support of another, usually a family member, to go to the competent agency to receive the social benefits for them.

However, the direct sale of social insurance books is no longer within the scope of authorization or any other category in compliance with the law. Because the social insurance book is not an asset, all civil transactions related to the purchase, sale, and pledge of this type of document are illegal. 

However, while the buyers may know about this but the seller might not. As the education about social insurance in Vietnam is pretty limited, the employees in the far away mountainous areas might be tricked into selling their social insurance books for a small amount of money. 

The buyers will deceive the seller into making the official authorization letters so that the buyers can withdraw lump-sum social insurance benefits, taking the difference amount.

Penalties for the action of buying and selling social insurance books in Vietnam

The act of buying and selling social insurance books has many risks for both the seller and the buyer, the worst can even be a criminal penalty of up to 10 years in prison. 

Not just the seller but the buyer who is deceived into selling the social insurance book might get into trouble as the law is just and the regulations on the social insurance book have been popularized to the general public. Therefore, it’s hard to argue that the sellers are negligent of the law. 

In the case of buying and selling social insurance books and detected by the social insurance agency, depending on the nature and severity of the behavior, the violator may be administratively fined or penalized. Specifically, the fines are as follows:

“A fine ranging from VND 1,000,000 to VND 2,000,000 shall be imposed on employees who commit one of the following violations: Making untruthful declarations or making untruthful corrections or erasures of relevant contents to the enjoyment of social insurance policies, unemployment policies but not to the extent of criminal prosecution.”

In addition, if the case is severe to the extent of criminal prosecution, individuals who trade in social insurance books may receive the following penalties:

  • A fine of between VND 20-100 million, non-custodial reform for up to two years, or a prison term of between three months and two years in case of making false records or falsifying contents of social insurance records or using fake dossiers or documents which have falsified content, deceive the social insurance agency, and appropriate social insurance money from 10 to under 100 million VND or cause damage from 20 to under 200 million VND.
  • Be sentenced to between 5 and 10 years in prison if appropriating social insurance money from 500 million VND or causing damage of 500 million VND or more.

ASL LAW is the top-tier Vietnam law firm for Employment and Labor Law. If you need any advice, please contact us for further information or collaboration.


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