Some 30,000 seniors who own expensive vehicles or memberships to golf clubs and resorts won’t benefit from the newly introduced pension program taking effect next week.
The revised basic pension program is to benefit the poorest 70 percent of Koreans aged 65 and older by giving them a monthly allowance from 100,000 won ($97) to 200,000 won depending on their income level.
Some 4.13 million people have benefitted from the former old-age pension program, which paid a monthly allowance of 97,000 won to the poorest 70 percent of seniors. Among the recipients of the old-age pension, some 30,000 seniors have been excluded from the new program’s benefits for their ownership of cars and memberships to pricey recreational facilities.
Seniors who own vehicles that cost more than 40 million won or memberships to golf clubs, resorts, horseback riding clubs and yacht clubs cannot receive the allowance.
“We are including the cost of the vehicles and the membership fees in their yearly income,” a Welfare Ministry official told The Korea Herald.
“A senior must make less than 870,000 won a month to receive the benefits. Most of these memberships cost 10 million won to 20 million won. So once the membership fees are included in your income, you are automatically making more than 870,000 won a month.”
According to the Ministry of Health and Welfare, the 4.1 million still-eligible seniors will receive their first payout under the new program on July 25.
Among the recipients, 92.6 percent will be given the full allowance of 200,000 won for a single person and 320,000 for a married couple, the ministry said.
In order to be eligible for the monthly benefits, a single-person household must make less than 870,000 won a month, while a two-person household ― consisting of a married couple ― must make less than 1,392,000 won.
Meanwhile, district municipalities in Seoul announced this week that they have only secured 63 percent of the required budget ― 145.86 billion won ― for the new pension program’s payments this year.
Among its 25 offices, three municipalities ― Seongdong-gu, Geumcheon-gu and Gangseo-gu ― have obtained less than 50 percent of the needed cost.
A total of 19 offices have also obtained only between 53 to 66 percent of the required funds. The current budget is just enough to cover the program’s payments until September, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government.
By Claire Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org)