Special treatment for crew’s families

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Special treatment for crew’s families

The families of the sailors missing from the sunken corvette Cheonan will be treated with special care, allowed to stay in Navy housing beyond the usual deadline and provided with a lump-sum payment in addition to the monthly military pension.

Defense Minister Kim Tae-young told lawmakers at the National Assembly’s National Defense Committee that the families will be treated with honor in recognition of the country’s worst maritime disaster.

Later in the day, a defense official who asked not to be identified said that while Navy regulations normally limit the families of retired or dead personnel to a six-month stay in the apartments, “We decided to make an exception to the rule for the relatives of the missing men.” How long the time will be extended has not yet been determined.

The ministry also said it will organize a medical team, composed of two military psychiatrists, one nurse and two psychotherapists, to treat relatives of the missing crew members suffering from mental shock. In addition, the Navy is willing to help the relatives find jobs in facilities within the military, the ministry said.

The official said funeral arrangements will be made upon family members’ demand after all the bodies of the missing men have been recovered.

In addition, the military will make an exception to its pension law, providing the families with a lump-sum payment in addition to a separate monthly pension. The families of the lost officers will receive 141 million to 247 million won ($126,759 to $222,053) as a one-time payment and 1.4 million to 2.55 million won as a monthly pension. The families of enlisted soldiers will receive a lump-sum payment of 36.5 million won and a monthly pension of 948,000 won.

If the missing sailors are confirmed killed in action by an outside attack, the lump-sum payment will be increased. Officers’ families will receive between 340 million and 358 million won, while enlisted men’s families will receive 200 million won.

The ministry is also planning to reassign the surviving officers to the specialty of their choice. It will urge rescued enlisted men to serve inland.

By Jeong Yong-soo [smartpower@joongang.co.kr]
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