Program to help workers on welfare stay working

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Program to help workers on welfare stay working

The Ministry of Health and Welfare announced yesterday that it will expand its welfare programs to those in lower income brackets and will help basic living subsidy recipients to become financially independent.

From this year on, the National Pension Service will judge the subsidy recipients’ ability to work and will allow them to participate in the ministry’s self-reliance programs, in which the government introduces jobs to people from lower income brackets. This will allow participants to receive a government allowance if they earn less than 600,000 won ($536) a month.

So far, public officials at district and city offices have been selecting candidates who can receive benefits through the program, and people with incomes have not been eligible to apply.

The welfare ministry has received criticism that the current candidate selection process lacks professionalism and is carried out paternalistically.

They have decided to vest candidate selection authority in the National Pension Service.

The ministry also said it will come up with detailed measures to help those in the upper level of the lower income brackets to get regular jobs, rather than have them depend on jobs provided by the government’s self-reliance program.

The ministry also announced that it will increase membership with the government’s Heemang Kium Tongjang, or Growing Hope Bank Account, which is a joint project conducted by the ministry and Hana Bank for lower income families. The project aims to help these families save money and eventually become self-sufficient.

By Yim Seung-hye [sharon@joongang.co.kr]

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