The government will launch a new basic pension program from July that aims to give monthly cash support to 70 percent of senior citizens in the country, officials said Sunday.
The pension plan was one of the key campaign pledges made by President Park Geun-hye in the 2012 campaign. She originally pledged to give 200,000 won ($197) to everyone over 65, but the government offered a compromise plan to support only those in the lower 70 percent income bracket, citing budgetary constraints.
The program, approved by the National Assembly in early May, permits cash payments ranging between 100,000 won and 200,000 won to be handed out to senior citizens over 65, who are not in the top 30 percent of income and high-valued asset holding brackets.
The Ministry of Health and Welfare said some 4.47 million people, out of 6.39 million over the age cutoff, will be eligible for state subsidies, with the first payment to be made on July 25.
It said the 4.2 million senior citizens who already get seniors' pension from the state will automatically be qualified to receive the new basic pension, with others who were excluded from getting money in the past, because they owned property, will now be eligible for some sort of support, depending on their individual wealth.
The ministry estimated that 64 percent of all senior citizens, or 4.06 million people will get the maximum 200,000 won per month, with the remaining 41,000 getting less, although even these people will be assured at least 100,000 won.
It said for new applicants wanting to get basic pension benefits, the first payment will likely start in August because the government has to screen whether or not these people own expensive property, large bank deposits and have other sources of income. (Yonhap)