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Disaster relief fund payments to kick off before Chuseok

Govt all set to hand out emergency cash upon parliamentary budget approval


Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki attempts the parliamentary budget committee on Friday to brief on the government’s fourth supplementary budget bill that awaits approval. (Yonhap)
Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki attempts the parliamentary budget committee on Friday to brief on the government’s fourth supplementary budget bill that awaits approval. (Yonhap)


South Korea’s government will start handing out the emergency relief funds tailored for the socially vulnerable early next week, in time for the Chuseok holiday that starts on Sept. 30, officials said Sunday.

According to the Ministry of Economy and Finance, the Ministry of Employment and Labor, and the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, small-sized merchants, non-standard contract employees, and families with young children will start to receive the special allowance on Sept. 28-29.

The beneficiaries will face a simplified payment process, with initial notices and guidelines sent out via mobile text messages and most applications required to be made online.

“We are sorting out the list of recipients and establishing a payment system in advance, in order to distribute a maximum amount of allowance ahead of the Chuseok holiday,” said an official of the Finance Ministry.

The given timeline assumes that the National Assembly will approve the fourth additional supplementary budget worth 7.8 trillion won ($6.7 billion) on Tuesday without setback.

“Sept. 22 is the effective deadline (for the government) to execute the extra budget amount ahead of the Chuseok holiday,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Hong Nam-ki last week, requesting the parliament to confirm the budget bill by then.

The latest budget proposal, when approved, will add to the Korean government’s earlier three sets of extra budgets worth 60 trillion won combined.

Taking priority will be the New Hope Fund that addresses 2.9 million small-sized business owners hit by the epidemic spread and the consequent quarantine rules.

To merchants who conventionally made 400 million won or less in annual sales and who have seen drastic sales reduction due to the latest COVID-19 resurgence, the government will provide 1 million won in special subsidy.

Those that were forced to shut down amid the enhanced social distancing rules will receive 1.5-2 million won, depending on the type and size of business.

The recipients of the New Hope Fund may apply for the allowance via online, with no additional evidential document required, according to the Labor Ministry.

Through the Emergency Employment Stabilizing Fund, the government will hand out a maximum of 1.5 million won to individual non-standard contract workers who have suffered from employment instability and reduced income.

While conventional beneficiaries to the fund will receive the amount before Chuseok, those newly joining will be required to submit their application and reported income document within this month in order to receive the cash in November.

The Youth Special Job-seeking Allowance that pays out 500,000 won to unemployed people aged 18-34 will be fully distributed before the holiday. Beneficiaries who receive SMS notices will have to submit a copy of their bankbook and a written consent to the use of personal information.

Households with preschoolers and primary students are to receive 200,000 won in special child care allowance per child through their childcare or school banking accounts.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)

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