Sat, Nov 21, 2015 - Page 4 News List

Lawmakers pass welfare bills

AGING SOCIETY:An amendment to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Act was passed with the aim of making it easier for the elderly to find rented accommodation

By Jake Chung  /  Staff writer

Amendments to the Senior Citizens’ Welfare Act (老人福利法) were passed by the legislature yesterday to flesh out legal backing for services for the elderly as the nation’s percentage of senior citizens keeps rising.

The amendments eliminated a clause mandating that the elderly have to have lived in a city or county for a certain time before being eligible to apply for subsidies, while clearing the rules that all subsidies are to be given in cash and cannot be detained, given away or used to pay bail.

Local governments have placed restrictions on elderly residents applying for subsidies for daily living costs and caretaking services, mandating that they must have a registered address within the city or county for at least six months to a year.

While local governments have been building public housing, this has not benefited the elderly, as they still face being sidelined by society, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Chen Chieh-ju (陳節如) said.

The elderly find it difficult to rent accommodation because landlords are unwilling to lease to them or they are unable to afford the rent being asked, Chen said, adding that the amended laws have included a clause in Article 3 that local governments must provide more rented accommodation for the elderly and task a specific unit with helping the elderly to renting such accommodation.

Article 33 of the amended act states that local governments should seek to promote social housing to clear any obstacles the elderly might have renting a home, Chen said, adding that local governments can also offer subsidies to landlords so that they can make repairs and offer their property for rent to the elderly.

The legislature also passed an amendment to the Customs Import Tariff Act (海關進口稅則) to lift all tariffs on vehicles dedicated to transporting disabled people.

The amendment allows imported vehicles purchased by local governments to transport disabled people and approved by the Ministry of Health and Welfare to be free from import tariffs.

In addition, in accordance with decisions made by regional leaders at a 2012 APEC meeting in Vladivostok, the amendment also lowers the tariffs on four types of wind power and renewable energy generators to 5 percent.

The goal of the amendment is to show the international community that Taiwan is serious about clean sources of energy and to stimulate the domestic market for renewable energy in the hope of cutting greenhouse gas emissions, officials said.

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