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Aged welfare standards reformed

Sept 12,2019
The government is easing qualifications for the national basic livelihood security program.

In the biggest change in the near 20 years since the National Basic Security Act was implemented, the government will not consider the gender of children when evaluating whether a person is eligible for the support.

The government will also significantly change the way assets of the children are counted and exclude 30 percent of the applicant’s labor earnings in the evaluation.

These were the changes that the Ministry of Health and Welfare announced on Tuesday. The changes will be applied starting next year.

Since the subsidy for low-income families has been provided, the government has applied different standards depending on the gender of children supporting parents.

When the parents are supported by a son, a harsher standard is applied.

Let’s assume an elderly couple is supported by a son with an income less than 1.71 million won ($1,430). That couple automatically receives the government support for basic living expenses. If the monthly income exceeds 2.87 million won, they are denied.

If the income of the son is between the 1.71 million won and 2.87 million won, a calculation is made. The government considers 30 percent of the difference between the son’s monthly income and the government 1.71 million won standard as money used in supporting the parents.

For married daughters, the government has only considered 15 percent of the difference as funds used in supporting the parents.

This reflects the traditional notion that puts emphasis on a son’s responsibility for aging parents.

The ministry said starting next year, it will only consider 10 percent for both sons and daughters.

That 10 percent is subtracted from the normal 870,000 won subsistence payment.

The government will also lower the standard on the personal assets of the children supporting their parents.

When evaluating the eligibility of applicants, the government has considered 4.17 percent of the total assets owned by the children, including real estate, financial assets and cars as monthly income. That will be lowered to 2.08 percent.

People with severe disabilities were frequently disqualified based on the personal wealth of their parents as the parents are labeled as obligatory providers. Starting next year, this standard will not be applied.

The government has also decided to exclude 30 percent of the labor income that the applicants earn when evaluating the eligibility.

If a person makes 800,000 won a month by working in construction, under the current system, that person receives 330,000 won from the government every month. But under the change, that person will be able to receive 600,000 won.

The government has also raised the deduction on personal properties that the applicant owns to reflect the rise in consumer prices. It is the biggest change in 10 years. Next year, for large cities, the basic property deduction when evaluating the eligibility will be raised from 54 million won to 69 million won. For midsize and small cities, it will be raised from 34 million to 43 million won, and for agricultural and fishery properties, it will be raised from 29 million to 35 million won. As a result 70,000 more households will be eligible for the subsistence

BY SHIN SUNG-SIK [kim.byungwook@joongang.co.kr]