Korea to expand eligibility for basic livelihood support, housing benefits

2023.09.20 11:17:01 | 2023.09.20 14:29:20

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More than 400,000 individuals in South Korea will be additionally eligible for basic livelihood support and housing benefits under the government’s revised criteria, which is aimed at addressing poverty blind spots.

Under the 3rd Comprehensive Basic Livelihood Support Plan outlined by the Ministry of Health and Welfare on Tuesday, the government plans to ease the eligibility criteria for livelihood support from 30 percent of median income to 32 percent next year and 35 percent by 2026.

The eligibility criteria for housing benefits will also be relaxed from 47 percent of median income to 50 percent by 2026. It is estimated that an additional 210,000 and 200,000 individuals will benefit from the changes, respectively.

“We plan to ease the minimum standard of living for the impoverished and actively address poverty blind spots among non-recipients of support,” said Health and Welfare Minister Cho Kyoo-hong.

The range of property that counts as income will also be eased.

Currently, low-income households have their cars fully recognized when calculating income. This has raised concerns that many low-income people who live in areas with limited public transportation or who own a car for their livelihood do not receive livelihood benefits because their car is counted as income.

In the future, vehicles used for livelihood will be excluded from property valuation, and the criteria will be relaxed to under 2000cc from under 1600cc.

The general property conversion rate of 4.17 percent that applied to cars under 1600cc for multi-children and multi-family households will also be expanded to include vehicles up to 2500cc.

Furthermore, the government plans to extend the additional deductions for young adults’ earned and business income, which previously applied to those under 24, to those under 30.

On the same day, the welfare ministry held a policy coordination meeting with the ruling People Power Party to finalize the “Five Major Tasks for Youth Welfare.”

Under the plan, the government will provide full-scale support to young family caregivers who take care of their family members and relatives with disabilities.

It is estimated that there are about 100,000 young family caregivers nationwide. They will receive a self-care allowance of 2 million won ($1,507) a year to support their academic and employment preparation and take care of their health.

This program will be piloted in four provinces next year and then be expanded.

Youth Future Centers will be established in the pilot project areas, with dedicated personnel assigned to closely manage and support these individuals.

Support for isolated young adults will also be strengthened.

A one-stop integrated support pilot project will be launched in four provinces next year, with both online and offline counseling services provided, alongside support for reading, cooking groups, and physical and recreational activity programs.

Additionally, spaces accommodating up to 80 people for communal living will be established to support regular living, hygiene management, and dietary improvement, among other things.

The self-reliance allowance for young adults preparing for independence will also increase by 100,000 won to 500,000 won per month from next year. The government will consider raising the lower threshold for self-reliance settlement payments, which are one-time payments of 10 million won or more.

By Ryu Young-wook and Yoon Yeon-hae

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