Taipei City Will Exclude the Rich in Cash Gift for Senior Citizens

Taipei City Will Exclude the Rich in Cash Gift for Senior Citizens
Photo Credit: Tony Tseng@Flickr CC BY 2.0

What you need to know

The number of recipients will drop from 400,000 to 18,000 people. The government expects to save NT$ 680 million to NT$ 700 million.

In July, Taipei Mayor Ke Wen-zhe raised the issue of the excluding the rich in senior citizen benefits. Chief of the Department of Social Welfare under the Taipei City Government Xu Li-min confirmed on August 17, since the Chong Yang cash gift is not a statutory social welfare and in order to effectively take care of the underprivileged, senior citizens of medium-low income over 65 years old can receive a Chong Yang cash gift of NT$ 1,500 (approximately US$ 46.52) and elderlies over 99 years old can receive NT$ 10,000 (approximately US$ 310). Other senior citizens are unqualified to collect the cash gift starting from next year.

The policy is estimated to be implemented next year and will save an annual budget of NT$ 700 million (approximately US$ 21 million). It will be taken as a mean to promote aging in place.

This year, the Department of Social Welfare has given the elderly ranging from 65 to 79 years old (including aboriginals 55 to 69 years old) NT$ 1,500 (approximately US$ 47) per person, 80 to 89 years old (including aboriginals 70 to 79 years old) NT$ 2000 (approximately US$ 62), 90 to 98 years old (including aboriginals 80 to 88 years old) NT$ 5000 (approximately US$ 155) and the elderly over 99 years old (including aboriginals over 89 years old) NT$ 10,000 (approximately US$ 310). The total budget was around NT$ 770 million. (approximately US$ 24 million)

China Times reports, Ke said in a municipal administration experience camp on August 17, the number of senior citizens over 65 years old in Taipei City is more than 380,000 people. He is shocked because the annual budget compiled for the Chong Yang cash gift is more than NT$ 700 million. He asked, “Should we spend this kind money?”

Ke believes the Chong Yang cash gift must exclude the rich. He must implement this policy even if his supporting rate will drop by five percent. Ke says, “Why give Terry Guo NT$ 1,000? It’s crazy!” It’s more important to give the money to the people who are really in need.

Liberty Times reports, Xu says the government will adjust the cash gift rather than cancel the whole budget and the department has proposed ways to adjust it. Senior citizens ranging from 65 to 98 years old must show proof of medium-low income to collect the Chong Yang cash gift in the future. The money for people over 99 years old will remain NT$ 10,000, but elderlies of any other age can’t collect the cash gift, regardless of aboriginal identity.

The number of recipients will drop from 400,000 to 18,000 people. The government expects to save NT$ 680 million to NT$ 700 million.

Other city governments around Taiwan except Taipei City did not exclude the rich in giving out the Chong Yang cash gift. Ye Ru-yu, the deputy director of Social Affairs Bureau of Kaohsiung City Government, says the gift money is a display of respect towards the elderly. The government will give you the gift money as long as you reach the age qualification.

The Kaohsiung City government will discuss whether or not to follow in the steps of Taipei City.

UDN reports, Taipei City reduced the welfare in high profile, provoking suspicions of injustice to the middle class because these people usually pay the most taxes but fall victim to austerity policy.

UDN reports, the legislative of City Council Li Xin says Ke should first clarify the differences between gift money and allowance. The gift money shows the country’s gratitude for the elders’ contributions to the society since they were young. Moreover, the elders fear to become burdens of the young generation. Ke’s new policy will make the elders feel they are good for nothing.

The Borough Chief of Zhongzheng district Chen Ying-hui says there are elder people who are poor and only have one house in her borough. These elderly don’t meet the medium-low income qualifications so they will be disappointed if the Chong Yang cash gift is only allocated to medium-low income households. She believes though the Chong Yang gift money is not much it shows the respect of the government.

Chen says, “If it is cancelled, the borough chief will be scolded to death by the public.”

Xu thinks the welfare budget must be used more effectively since the resources are limited. He points out the one-time subsidy has relatively low efficiency. As long as the municipal commission and the City Council passes the budget of the coming year, the rest of the NT$ 700 million will be put into the long-term care system, including household care, early dementia prevention and cares. He also reveals more benefits regarding EasyCards for senior citizens have also been planned.

Translated by June
Edited by Olivia Yang

China Times
Liberty Times