Offline claims for Seoul city relief start

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Offline claims for Seoul city relief start

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Citizens wait to sign up for emergency relief handouts at a community center in Seoul as the city government began offline registration for the relief on Thursday. [NEWS1]

Middle- and lower-income households in Seoul who think they’re eligible for receiving coronavirus emergency handouts from the city government can now sign up for the relief at their local community service centers, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced Thursday.

Foreigners who live in Seoul and are legally documented can also sign up if they have a Korean spouse or are raising children who are Korean nationals.

Offline registration began Thursday and will run through May 15, the city said in a statement.

Online registration already started on March 30, as city officials feared people may contract or spread the coronavirus if applications were received offline.

Both online and offline methods will be available through May 15 until 6 p.m.

As with the online method, Seoul said the offline method will run on a five-day rotation system, through which applicants can register on designated days of the week from Monday through Friday based on their year of birth.

As of Thursday, the city said over 600,000 people in the capital applied online for the handouts. Seoul officials separately visited or contacted roughly 7,000 people to add them onto the roster of recipients due to their difficulties with mobility, the city explained.

All in all, more than 600,000 people have applied for a total of about 206.9 billion won ($169 million), of which 38.9 billion won has already been paid.

Seoul said 22.5 percent of the applicants were in their 40s, followed by those in their 20s and 50s, each of which accounted for about 20.5 percent. Single-member households made up 36.3 percent of all applicants, followed by households of two members and three or four.

The highest number of applicants live in Gwanak District, southern Seoul, followed by Gangseo District, western Seoul; Nowon District, northern Seoul; Songpa District, southern Seoul; and Eunpyeong District, northern Seoul.

Roughly 57.6 percent of all applicants asked to receive their relief in debit cards, while the rest asked to receive theirs in coupons.

Seoul was one of the first local government offices in Korea to announce financial relief packages to its constituents after the country’s number of coronavirus infections began to soar in mid-February.

In mid-March, the Seoul Metropolitan Government relayed plans to offer emergency handouts to Seoul citizens who make less than the median income in case they aren’t eligible for a number of other categories of subsidies from the government.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN, YONHAP [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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