Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) yesterday said that the grace period for families to apply for a monthly childbirth subsidy had been extended to next month, as he encouraged more families to take advantage of the benefit.
The NT$2,500 monthly subsidy, one of Hau’s major social welfare programs, which started in January, is available for families with children under five years old and an annual net income of below NT$1.13 million (US$39,000).
The city originally offered a grace period for the subsidy application, which allowed families who failed to register in the month their children were born to still receive the monthly subsidy if they completed the application process by March.
However, as many families still do not know about the program, Hau said the city government decided to extend the grace period again, to next month.
“The program is aimed at reducing the financial burden of families in Taipei and increasing the birthrate ... Many [Taipei] residents are not yet familiar with the application process for the subsidy, so we decided to extend the grace period to benefit more families,” Hau said after attending a celebration activity for Mother’s Day.
Tu Tzu-june (杜慈蓉), a division chief at the city’s Department of Social Welfare Affairs, said 56,618 families — including 5,779 who had newborns — had applied for the subsidy since January.
The subsidy program is one of the Hau administration’s measures to increase the city’s birthrate, which hit a record low of 19,403 last year.
Another major program offered a NT$20,000 incentive to the guardians of newborns in Taipei if either of the baby’s parents holds a household registration in Taipei for more than a year.
The programs are expected to cost the city NT$3 billion, with the families of about 110,000 newborns and children in Taipei expected to benefit. Taipei is the second local government to offer a childbirth subsidy of NT$20,000 after the Kinmen County Government.
Hau said the city would strengthen efforts to promote the policy, including sending pamphlets to families to remind them of their rights.
Aside from the subsidies, the city government plans to offer free education at 133 municipal kindergartens and after-school childcare services at 141 municipal elementary schools.