SEOUL, April 27 (Korea Bizwire) – Amid record youth unemployment rates mired in the double digits, the Seoul Metropolitan Government is continuing its efforts to support young people this year, with 5,000 young people between the ages of 19 and 29 set to receive 500,000 won every month from July for up to six months to help them climb the career ladder.
Seoul’s decision to go forward with its youth benefits initiative this year comes as something of a surprise in the wake of last year’s shaky run, which was met with skepticism especially from conservative politicians including Oh Shin-hwan, a lawmaker from Bareun Party.
Some critics questioned the effectiveness of Seoul’s youth benefits program, while other taxpayers were seen expressing frustration online over the municipal government’s social welfare program.
Following criticism last year over arbitrary selection criteria, which raised questions over the eligibility of some of the beneficiaries, applicants now need to meet a newly added requirement of not living in a household earning more than 150 percent of the median household income.
Another change made in this year’s application process is the ratio of household income to the length of time spent seeking employment. Unlike last year, young people from low-income households will be prioritized.
In response to growing criticism over last year’s income standards, one Seoul government official said, “Following last year’s controversy over some of the beneficiaries coming from high-income households, the new cap on incomes this year will see Seoul’s economic support distributed more equitably among young people.”
Young Seoulites with a partner or children will also be prioritized in Seoul’s youth benefits initiative, while university students except for soon-to-be graduates or those already on employment benefits won’t be eligible.
The application process begins early next month at youthhope.seoul.go.kr, and is open to all individuals who were registered residents of Seoul last year.
According to 2016 OECD statistics, South Korea’s youth unemployment rate of 12.5 percent was higher than that of Japan, Germany and the U.S., a mere 0.6 below the average rate among OECD countries.
Hyunsu Yim (firstname.lastname@example.org)