The number of people applying for the Council of Labor Affairs’ (CLA) labor insurance loan for the financially needy this year is roughly half of that in 2009, the council said yesterday.
The Bureau of Labor Insurance reported that 103,000 applications for the labor insurance loan had been received as of the deadline on Friday last week.
Compared with the thick of the financial crisis in 2009 which saw 192,000 applicants receive loans, and last year, when 145,000 borrowed money from their labor insurance accounts, this year’s low figure shows the strength of the economic recovery, the bureau said.
They estimated that NT$10.3 billion (US$340 million) in loan payouts to the poor will be received by workers before the Lunar New Year, a time of year which traditionally sees some people financially stretched as holiday expenses build up.
Every year, the council offers low-interest loans of as much as NT$100,000 to help low-income workers who subscribe to the National Labor Insurance Program get through the Lunar New Year holiday.
The special loan has been offered for eight years and is available to applicants who have participated in the National Labor Insurance Program for at least 15 years and have no unpaid debt to the program. The loans, which are capped at a maximum of NT$100,000 per person, must be paid back within three years at an annual interest rate of 1.41 percent for the first six months and a floating interest rate for the following years.
The council has set aside NT$20 billion for the loan program this year, which could provide loans to as many as 200,000 people.
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