South Korea begins offering coronavirus relief funds - The Korea Times
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South Korea begins offering coronavirus relief funds

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A citizen passes by a banner announcing the government's coronavirus relief funds in front of a community service center in central Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap
A citizen passes by a banner announcing the government's coronavirus relief funds in front of a community service center in central Seoul, Monday. / Yonhap

By Jun Ji-hye

The government began offering emergency disaster relief funds to some 2.8 million households, Monday, as part of efforts to minimize the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic by boosting consumption, according to the Ministry of Interior and Safety.

Eligible households include those living off the government's livelihood support, the basic pension or disability programs.

Those households can receive cash payouts up to 1 million won ($816) without going through a separate application process.

The amount depends on the number of family members ― 400,000 won for single-person households, 600,000 won for two-member households, 800,000 won for three-member households and 1 million won for households with four or more family members.

The cash payments are made into the same bank accounts they use to receive the government assistance, the ministry said, noting that the time of receipt could vary according to region.

The National Assembly passed a supplementary budget bill, April 30, to fund coronavirus relief payouts for all households regardless of income.

The remaining households that are not subject to the cash payouts can choose either credit or debit card points, gift cards or prepaid cards to receive the relief funds, with a separate application process required.

The heads of those households that chose credit or debit card points can apply for the payout starting May 11 online and May 18 offline.

Those who chose gift cards or prepaid cards can apply for the payout at community service centers or local banks, starting May 18.

Relief funds offered in the form of credit or debit card points, gift cards or prepaid cards will be available until Aug. 31, according to the ministry.

The ministry added that people should be cautious about possible phishing attempts through text messages, in which swindlers could scam the public by pretending to be credit card or government officials in charge of the relief funds.

"Text messages sent by the government, municipal administrations or credit card companies in relation to the relief funds do not include web addresses. People should not click any web links if they receive such messages," a ministry official said.


Jun Ji-hye jjh@koreatimes.co.kr


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