Land rich won’t be receiving Covid-19 cash

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Land rich won’t be receiving Covid-19 cash

More details on Covid-19 relief grants were provided on Thursday, including how some wealthy households will be excluded from the program and how recent hardships can be reported.

Categories of foreigners eligible for the funding were also disclosed.

The grants, which will top out at 1 million won ($816), were first proposed at the end of March. A total of 14 million households may receive the funding to help them weather the hardship of the coronavirus outbreak.

In the announcement, the task force in charge of the program said that families with properties with taxable value of more than 900 million won and those with taxable investment income or interest exceeding 20 million won a year are not eligible for the government’s emergency grant.

The government said that a property with 900 million won in taxable value is roughly equivalent to a property with an assessed value of 1.5 billion won and a market value of 2 to 2.2 billion won.

The 20 million won in taxable financial income would translate to having roughly 1.25 billion won in a three-year time deposit earning at an annual interest rate of 1.6 percent.

Even those not triggering these exclusions will still have to qualify as being in the lowest 70 percent in terms of household income.

In the announcement, the task force said that people whose income has recently dropped below the disqualification threshold will be eligible to apply.

Those who recently lost their jobs, were forced to take unpaid leave or whose paychecks have been cut can file documentation that proves their change in income.

The self-employed, freelancers, those who work door-to-door and home-visiting tutors will be eligible to apply if they can show a drop in income over the past two months.

The grants are only given to Koreans living in the country, which means that Koreans living abroad and foreigners cannot apply. This includes Koreans who as of March 29 were abroad for more than a month.

Foreigners married to Koreans and permanent residents are eligible to apply.

The initial announcement on April 3 left questions unanswered, such as how the government would determine precisely how it will measure which households in the country are the best paid 30 percent and thus disqualified from the program.

The government hopes to distribute the grants in May.

“We ask for active cooperation from the National Assembly so that the supplementary budget [funding the relief] grant is voted on and quickly distributed,” said Yoon Jong-in, vice minister of the interior and safety, who is heading the task force in charge of the emergency grant.

BY LEE HO-JEONG [lee.hojeong@joongang.co.kr]

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