Taipei cuts disabled man’s low-income subsidy 20 days after his father’s death

By Mo Yan-chih  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Oct 12, 2012 - Page 4

A local Taipei resident with a physical disability surnamed Chuo (卓) was eligible for low-income family subsidies of more than NT$20,000 per month, but the subsidies were canceled in July immediately after his father passed away because the household savings of his family became higher than the threshold for eligibility.

Chuo and his parents had been entitled to a monthly subsidy of NT$22,600, including a low-income living expense subsidy for the elderly and a subsidy for low-income residents with disabilities. After the death of his father, Chuo was no longer qualified for low-income subsidies because his household savings of about NT$400,000 were higher than the threshold of NT$150,000 or less for each family member.

Taipei City’s Department of Social Welfare informed Chuo about the cancellation of his eligibility for low-income subsidies 20 days after his father passed away and stopped paying the subsidy in August.

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors Wu Su-yao (吳思瑤) and Liang Wen-jie (梁文傑) yesterday accused the city government of ignoring Chuo’s circumstances and being inhumane by canceling the subsidy when he was still handling his father’s funeral.

“The city government should take more care of Mr Chuo and other low-income families. When they are facing great difficulties in their lives, the city government becomes extremely efficient and takes away their subsidies,” Wu said.

Liang said the move was even more preposterous because Chuo qualified for the subsidy again after he spent about NT$300,000 on his father’s funeral, which brought his savings to less than NT$100,000.

“Mr Chuo is forced to apply for the subsidy again and go through the complicated procedures. It’s extremely inconvenient and disturbing for low-income family members,” he said.

According to the Social Assistance Act (社會救助法), people who are qualified for low-income subsidies should have a general monthly income of NT$14,794 or less and their household savings should be NT$150,000 or less per family member.

The law also stipulates that any land or property possessed by low-income families should not be worth more than NT$6 million (US$205,000).

Lin Shu-er (林淑娥), a division chief at the department, said the act required local governments to review the eligibility of a low-income family following a change to the registered household members.

She said the department has found financial aid for Chuo from private organizations and will discuss with the central government whether a grace period should be granted to those confronted with the deaths of family members or other major incidents.