Cou­ples who lose a child to re­ceive higher sub­si­dies

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - NATION - By WANG QINGYUN wangqingyun@chi­nadaily.com.cn

Par­ents who have lost their only child will get more com­pen­sa­tion and en­joy fa­vor­able poli­cies in ac­cess to rest homes and hous­ing, ac­cord­ing to an an­nounce­ment by the Na­tional Health and Fam­ily Plan­ning Com­mis­sion on Thurs­day.

The an­nounce­ment said that in 2014, the stan­dard sub­sidy will in­crease to 340 yuan ($56) per per­son per month for ur­ban cou­ples who lost their only child but haven’t adopted or given birth to another.

The no­tice, is­sued by the com­mis­sion and other min­istries in­clud­ing the Min­istry of Civil Af­fairs and the Min­istry of Fi­nance, added that the wife should be aged 49 or above.

The sub­sidy will in­crease to 170 yuan per month per per­son for such cou­ples in ru­ral ar­eas.

The min­istries asked lo­cal gov­ern­ments across the coun­try to “es­tab­lish a mech­a­nism for dy­namic in­crease” of the sub­sidy.

Since 2008, a na­tion­wide sub­sidy pro­gram has been car­ried out to help cou­ples who have lost a child, ac­cord­ing to Wang Haidong, di­rec­tor of the com­mis­sion’s depart­ment of fam­ily plan­ning and fam­ily de­vel­op­ment.

Pre­vi­ously, the sub­sidy was 100 yuan per per­son per month for such cou­ples. It in­creased to 135 yuan in 2012, Wang said.

Li Zhongkui, a 63-year-old Bei­jing res­i­dent who lost his only son in 2004, said he wel­comed the pol­icy. An in­crease in the sub­sidy over time is nec­es­sary, given in­creas­ing com­mod­ity prices, Li said.

He said he and his wife each get 720 yuan of sub­sidy a month, but “the sub­sidy alone is not enough to cover one’s daily life”.

“It’s im­por­tant to in­crease sub­sidy per per­son monthly for ur­ban cou­ples who lost their only child but haven’t since adopted or given birth from 2014 the sub­sidy for those low­in­come fam­i­lies,” he said.

The min­istries also asked pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments to give pri­or­ity to such cou­ples who are 60 or above, es­pe­cially those who are not able to take care of them­selves, to en­ter gov­ern­ment-funded rest homes.

In ad­di­tion, fam­i­lies who lost their only child and are fi­nan­cially chal­lenged should get pri­or­ity ac­cess to pub­lic hous­ing, ac­cord­ing to the an­nounce­ment.

In 2012, the China Pop­u­la­tion and De­vel­op­ment Re­search Center sur­veyed fam­i­lies in 15 pro­vin­cial-level gov­ern­ments who lost their only child or whose only child was dis­abled.

Of the sub­jects, “80 per­cent were con­cerned about the care they will get when they get old”, said Wang Haidong, with the com­mis­sion. The mea­sures will deal with the is­sues fam­i­lies face in a prac­ti­cal way, Wang said.

Zhang Xingx­ian, a 65-yearold woman in Zhen­jiang, Jiangsu prov­ince, who lost her 27-year-old daugh­ter in 2007, said the an­nounce­ment is a step for­ward in help­ing fam­i­lies who lost their only child, but she’s con­cerned whether the mea­sures will be well im­ple­mented.

“Our big­gest worry is the time when we can­not move by our­selves,” she said. “We can­not af­ford and don’t trust a nurse in our house. Rest homes don’t take us in be­cause we don’t have our chil­dren or our care­tak­ers to sign the pa­per.”

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