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(LEAD) S. Korea to grant 'disaster relief money' for households, vows extra budget plan

All News 11:34 March 30, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES throughout with Moon's remarks; CHANGES headline, photo)
By Lee Chi-dong

SEOUL, March 30 (Yonhap) -- The South Korean government will grant "emergency disaster relief money" to a majority of the country's households in a one-off stimulus program to help with the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis, President Moon Jae-in said Monday.

He also unveiled a plan to seek another supplementary budget during a third session of the emergency economic council at the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

"The government has decided to pay emergency disaster relief money" directly to South Koreans struggling to make ends meet due to the pandemic, he said.

Under the scheme, 1 million won (US$820) would be given to a four-person household, of which gross income stays at or below 70 percent of the total. It represents an earnings limit for the aid program, meaning individuals with relatively low income would get paid in accordance with the standard. The finance ministry is expected to make relevant details public later in the day.

President Moon Jae-in (2nd from R) speaks during a third emergency economic council meeting at Cheong Wa Dae in Seoul on March 30, 2020. (Yonhap)

"It was not an easy decision," he said, stressing that the people deserve "compensation" for their difficulties participating in the monthslong quarantine-related measures.

The president also said the government would relieve the burden on low-income families, small-shop owners and the self-employed for fees for the four social insurances and electricity use. The four are health insurance, national pension, employment insurance and industrial accident compensation insurance.

In addition, Moon said his administration will push for a "second" extra budget with the aim of getting the bill passed at the National Assembly shortly after the April 15 general elections.

Lawmakers have already approved an 11.7 trillion-won supplementary budget plan over the coronavirus.

Earlier this month, Moon launched the council to make policy decisions and actions in a swift and effective way to minimize the economic fallout of COVID-19.

In the two previous sessions, he approved a set of emergency measures, including 100 trillion won of financial support for the business sector, amid concerns about credit and liquidity crunches.


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