New division will identify those eligible for subsidies

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New division will identify those eligible for subsidies

The Seoul city government announced yesterday that it will introduce a new support division to proactively locate those in need of government subsidies and help relieve their financial problems.

So far, the government has asked those eligible for city government subsidies to submit applications.

Officials within the new body will be tasked with finding people who could qualify for benefits and encourage them to apply for welfare programs. To enact the measure, the city plans to recruit 260 social workers.

The division will begin operations next month and by July will report the number of lower-income people eligible for government subsidies who may not have yet applied for those benefits. The move follows a spate of suicide cases that are believed to have been motivated by poverty. Last month, a woman and her two daughters killed themselves after struggling financially for years. They left behind an envelope addressed to their landlord containing their final rent payment, leading the police to suspect that the stress of money played a role in their deaths.

The city also decided to ease requirements for financial subsidies offered by the Seoul Metropolitan Government. Currently, those making less than 80 percent of the minimum cost of living qualify for government subsidies - an increase from the former 68 percent. Cost of living tends to vary by household. Under the revised standard, 40,000 more people can receive monthly financial subsidies. Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon said that the city is aiming to increase the bar to 100 percent by 2016.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]


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