Cabinet eases subsidy program rules

By Shih Hsiu-chuan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Fri, Mar 27, 2009 - Page 4

The Cabinet yesterday approved a six-month extension to a monthly stipend for families in dire economic straits and eased the qualifications to allow more households to qualify, Minister of the Interior Liao Liou-yi (廖了以) said.

Since October, the government has granted subsidies ranging from NT$3,000 and NT$6,000 a month to 232,385 people who met the following conditions: that he or she was their family’s sole breadwinner and earned less than NT$300,000 a year; the family was not covered by other welfare programs; he or she was a member of either the labor insurance or the employment insurance program from January to June last year; and his or her real estate holding were less than NT$3.9 million (US$111,000).

Liao told a press conference after the Cabinet meeting that the government had revised the subsidy program to allow more people to qualify because of the rise in unemployment and unpaid leave.

However, beginning next month and continuing through December, the six-month participation in labor insurance or employment insurance programs will be dropped, Liao said. Instead, applicants will only need to have been covered by the labor insurance or employment insurance programs for a minimum of 183 days last year, which means people who were temporarily unemployed and who worked on short-term contracts would be eligible to apply.

The requirement that applicants could not be covered by other social welfare programs will also be dropped, he said.

These two changes were expected to increase the number of beneficiaries to 360,000, he said.