Poverty line adjustment to help reach more: minister


TAIPEI, Taiwan — The government’s efforts to relax the eligibility requirements for public assistance, including raising the poverty line, highlight its resolve to help disadvantaged families, Interior Minister Jiang Yi-huah said yesterday.

Jiang was reporting to the Legislative Yuan’s Social Welfare, Environment and Health Committee, which had convened to review proposed amendments to the Public Assistance Act.

At present, public assistance is mainly available to low-income households, defined as those whose total income divided by the number of individual members is lower than the minimum cost of living, or poverty line, which varies from region to region in the country.

The minimum cost of living is currently calculated as 60 percent of the annual consumption expenditure per capita for the latest year.

According to a proposal put forward by the Ministry of the Interior, the formula would be changed to 60 percent of median monthly disposable income per capita.

Jiang explained that the new formula would ensure that assistance was available to more disadvantaged families.

In addition, the bill expanded coverage of assistance to include lower-middle-income households whose total income divided by the number of individual members was less than 1.5 times the minimum cost of living, Jiang said.