August 6, 2010

CHINA: Give monthly allowance to elderly from age 80, says Civil Affairs Ministry

Don't make elderly wait for cash, says civil affairs ministry

Global Times of Beijing said August 6 that the Ministry of Civil Affairs has ordered all provincial governments to start giving elders their allowance starting at age 80, on a monthly basis, and not to wait until they turn 100, according to the China National Committee on Aging.

The order came in response to concerns that loopholes in the old age allowance system were keeping money out of the hands of millions of people who need it badly.

The ministry announced in March that senior citizens could get the allowance when they are 80 instead of waiting until they turn 100.

However, the ministry said only six provinces and regions, including Beijing, Tianjin, Heilongjiang, Shanghai, Yunnan and Ningxia have implemented the amendment by giving out 100 yuan ($14.6) per month to those 80 or above, China National Radio reported Tuesday.

The other provinces were told to implement the policy now so that those who are 80 could get the money.

Concerns were raised about the welfare of the elderly after some news reports shocked the country.

An 85-year-old man in East China's Anhui Province died of starvation earlier this year after his son passed away and he was left to fend for himself without any government aid, the Xiaoxiang Morning Herald reported earlier.

An elderly woman in the Tongzhou suburb of Beijing died from hunger even though she has four sons, the China Central Television reported earlier.

In addition to the 100 yuan old age allowance, senior citizens without children could receive about 2,000 yuan per year ($294) from the government, while others are eligible for a subsidy decided by several factors including their pre-retirement wages.

The Gerontological Society of China did a study last year and said there are 30,000 people who were at least 100 years old.

Wang Zhenyao, the social welfare and charity chief under the ministry, told the China Economic Weekly in Tuesday's edition that an order was issued to study the regions that adopted the policy and do the same.

China National Committee on Ageing
Jia 57 Andingmenwai Dajie