China has developed a relatively complete social assistance system in recent years in terms of guaranteeing a basic standard of living for people in need, according to Liu Xitang, director of the Social Assistance Department of the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA).
“As the last safety net, the social assistance system includes not only minimum living allowances, special allowances for people in extreme poverty and temporary assistance from civil affairs departments all over the country, but also assistance with healthcare, education, housing, employment, and disaster-relief under the responsibility of relevant departments,” said Liu during a regular press briefing held by the State Council Information Office on State Council policies last month.
According to Liu, a total of 126.1 billion yuan ($17.97 billion) was spent on minimum living allowances, special allowances for people in extreme poverty and temporary assistance in the first half of this year. Temporary assistance was mainly given to people experiencing temporary and sudden difficulties, such as the pandemic and other disasters.
By June this year, a total of 40.6 million urban and rural residents in China had received subsistence allowances, including 7 million urban residents and 33.6 million rural residents. In the first half of the year, 92.6 billion yuan was spent on subsistence allowances, which were set at 734 yuan per person per month in urban areas and 554 yuan per person in rural areas.
During the next stage, the MCA will guide local governments to focus on:
- Increasing the implementation of the minimum living allowance policy;
- Strengthening the identification of marginal families with minimum living allowances;
- Effectively carrying out emergency relief and temporary assistance work;
- Unblocking the channels for people in need to apply for assistance.