With the purpose of relieving the pain of residents who have been negatively affected by the outbreak of COVID-19, Seoul will be implementing the finalized “Seoul Disaster Fund for Household Support.” The action plan was prepared to vitalize the local economy and overcome the national crisis through timely emergency financial support for victims of the COVID-19 pandemic whose livelihoods have become threatened.
Eligible beneficiaries are the households whose members include low-income workers, small business owners, or temporary workers (part-timers, freelancers, daily construction workers) who make less than 100% of the median income. According to the number of members in a household, the sum of the financial support will be between KRW 300,000 and 500,000 and distributed in the form of the local mobile currency or a prepaid card.
A Total of 1,177,000 Households Earning Less than Median Income to Receive Support
Seoul predicts that 1,177,000 households will receive support through this measure. Among 1,910,000 households earning less than 100% of the median income, 730,000 households that the central government will support with its supplementary budget have been excluded to avoid overlapping support.
Applicants Choose Between Local Mobile Currency or Prepaid Card
To boost the stagnant economy, the funds will be provided in the form of the “local mobile currency or prepaid cards” that will expire in the end of June 2020. Residents who apply for the financial support can choose between the “local mobile currency or prepaid cards” worth KRW 300,000-500,000. Choosing the “local mobile currency,” increases the received benefits by 10%.
Provision within 3-4 Days Thanks to Streamlined Application Process
The application process will be streamlined to offer support as quickly as possible in this severe situation in which people’s livelihoods are insecure due to COVID-19. Each community service center will receive applications starting on March 30 (Mon.). First, the incomes of applicants will be checked on the Social Security Information Service. Once the check has been completed, the decision will be made within the short period of three to four days.
As the city expects many eligible citizens to apply for the financial support, 425 community service centers will deploy a total of 850 temporary support personnel (2 personnel for each) during the period to minimize citizen inconvenience. To prevent infection of the applicants, community service centers will be thoroughly disinfected and equipped with additional virus-preventive items. An online application will be available on the Seoul Welfare Portal to disperse demands for the application. (※ Seoul Welfare Portal: https://wis.seoul.go.kr)
Practical Support for People’s Livelihoods to Shed Light on Blind Zones in Government Support
This financial support for residents of Seoul is extremely meaningful in that it is practical living support for a broader range of beneficiaries that were excluded from existing support, including households with earnings less than 100% of the median income for those whose livelihoods are threatened due to the outbreak of COVID-19. For this support, Seoul will invest the entire available budget that amounts to a total of KRW 327.1 billion, covered by the city’s “emergency disaster management fund,” and any shortfalls will be retained from the government’s supplementary budget.
Mayor Park Won-soon of Seoul said, “The COVID-19 outbreak has paralyzed our lives and economy, and the livelihoods of the people are on the verge of collapsing. This urgent financial support is a countermeasure in response to the suffering of citizens whose livelihoods have been threatened. To improve effectiveness and validity, the city will provide direct, prompt support for citizens negatively affected by COVID-19. We expect the support will be a practical countermeasure that carefully removes the disaster blind zone where people could not benefit from the government’s supplementary budget or existing welfare system despite unexpected economic difficulties. Seoul will continue to find and establish other necessary measures that the city can take to quickly alleviate citizens’ burdens.”