Thu, Mar 06, 2014 - Page 5 News List

Sixty thousand more people eligible for public subsidies as poverty line rises

Staff writer, with CNA

With the government raising the poverty line in most parts of the country, 60,000 more people are eligible for public subsidies for lower-income families this year, an official with the Ministry of Health and Welfare said, as she promoted a new hotline offering information on subsidies and welfare.

The ministry decided late last year that the poverty threshold — excluding the five main metropolitan areas and Kinmen and Lienchiang counties — should be raised to NT$10,869 per person per month from NT$10,244.

The five special municipalities have the discretion to set their own poverty lines, with New Taipei City, Greater Tainan and Greater Taichung raising the income levels defining the poor and near poor, while Taipei and Greater Kaohsiung kept theirs unchanged.

The new standards are expected to add 60,000 more people to the list of those who qualify for welfare programs, including living allowances and subsidies for children’s education and medical bills, ministry official Lee Mei-chen (李美珍) said on Monday.

At the same time, Lee introduced a “1957” hotline that citizens can use to find out if they qualify for government assistance.

Last year, the number of people eligible for lower-income subsidies stood at 696,156.

The figure included 361,765 low-income individuals who fell below the poverty line, and 334,391 near-poor individuals, whose income fell below 1.5 times the poverty line.

The poverty line is 60 percent of the median monthly disposable income in the region they live in.

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