The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has relaxed the income criteria and expanded the beneficiary count for its “Double Hope Youth Savings Account” program to reduce competition and help more young working people with sufficient savings to sustain themselves.
This asset-building support program, which was initiated as “Seoul Hope Plus Savings Account” by Mayor Oh Se-hoon in 2009 as the first of its kind in the country, limited its eligibility to young applicants in 2015. Participants of the program can reap the benefits of doubled returns so that young working people with relatively lower income can establish concrete future plans with enough savings and stably stand on their own feet.
This year saw a total of 17,093 applicants for the limited 7,000 slots, resulting in a 2.4 to 1 competition ratio. However, this is lower than that of last year despite the 27% increase in applicants, which was 13,462 applicants for 3,000 slots (4.5 to 1 ratio), and the average over the past five years (4.8 to 1 ratio) due to the doubled beneficiary count.
The SMG was able to reduce competition among applicants by easing the monthly income criteria from last year’s KRW 2.37 million standard to KRW 2.55 million or less this year, and increasing the beneficiary count from 3,000 to 7,000. These changes to this year’s conditional requirements reflected the high level of interest in the program by popular demand to provide more application opportunities for more working young people in the midst of the prolonged pandemic.
Applicants will be approved after household income and property inquiry and other document screening mid-November, and approved applicants will be able to access their savings account starting November.
Meanwhile, the SMG has provided matching funds of KRW 26.589 billion to 10,111 people over the past five years from 2016 to 2020 in an effort to mitigate the dissociation of young citizens’ sentiments in municipal policies and promote social integration by assisting their struggles, supporting their self-reliance, and increasing their will to work and live independently.