The Council of Labor Affairs’ (CLA) annual labor insurance loan will begin accepting applications from eligible workers starting today at the 146 local branches of the Land Bank of Taiwan.
This year marks the seventh time that the council has offered the loan program, which is designed to lend money from the National Labor Insurance Fund to low-income families to help them through the Lunar New Year holidays.
Applicants who are in poor financial circumstances, have no previously unpaid debts to the fund and have been insured under the National Labor Insurance Program for at least 15 years are eligible to apply, the council said.
Applicants can apply for a loan of up to NT$100,000 (NT$3,100), with an annual interest rate of 1.35 percent.
Officials said that the loan program was meant to help workers who are having financial problems and was not designed to help the fund boost profits.
The 1.35 percent interest rate, which includes a small processing fee, is not much higher than the average deposit rate of the fund, the officials said.
The council has set aside a loan budget of NT$20 billion this year, which means that as many as 200,000 eligible applicants will be able to benefit from the fund.
Last year, about the fund lent a total of NT$19.2 billion.
The deadline for applications is Jan 22.
To save workers the trouble of personally visiting a Land Bank branch, the council has set up a system on its official Web site to allow people to file their initial applications online.
Applicants will also be able to check the status of their loan applications online, and will only need to make one visit to a Land Bank branch office to sign documents, the officials said.
Approved loans will be paid out to workers before the Lunar New Year next month.
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