Chapter 1 General Principles
This Act is enacted to care for low-income and middle-low-income households, assist persons in need during an emergency or disaster, and help them to live independently.
The public assistance referred to in this Act is divided into living support, medical subsidies, and emergency and disaster aid.
The competent authorities of this Act are the Ministry of Health and Welfare at the central level, the municipal governments at the municipal level, and the county (city) governments at the county (city) level.
Matters described in this Act which are related to the government of each specific industry competent authority shall come under the related industry competent authority.
The low-income households described in this Act shall qualify under the following conditions: they are approved by their local municipality competent authority via application; their average divided monthly income among each person in the household falls below the lowest living index; and their total household assets do not exceed the specific amount announced by the central and municipality competent authorities in the year of application.
The abovementioned lowest living index is based on the standard announced by the central department of budget, accounting and statistics, and is defined by the central and municipality competent authorities as 60% of the median rate of the expenditure per person in the past year in the household’s local area. The lowest living index shall be adjusted when the difference between the amount of the index calculated in the past year and the amount of the existing index is more than 5%. The municipal competent authority shall report the index to the central competent authority for review and reference.
In addition, the abovementioned lowest living index shall neither exceed the national median rate of the expenditure per person announced by the central department of budget, accounting and statistics in the past year, nor be lower than 60% of the median rate of the expenditure per person in any other county in Taiwan.
The household assets described in the first paragraph include liquid assets and real assets whilst the financial value of the assets shall be defined separately.
The documents shall be attached, and the approval procedures of the application stated in the first paragraph shall be defined by the municipality and county (city) competent authorities.
While the application is undertaken in accordance with the first paragraph, the members of the household must be confirmed as actually living in the registered household municipality city or county (city), and shall have been living in Taiwan for more than 183 days in the past year. There is no time limit for registering of a household during the application process.
The middle-to-low-income household described in this Act shall have been approved by the municipality or county (city) competent authority, in which the applicant is registered and household is located, and shall qualify under the following conditions:
1. Their average divided monthly income among each person in the household falls below the amount 1.5 times as much as the lowest living index and shall not exceed the expenditure described in the third paragraph of the above article.
2. Their total household assets shall not exceed the specific amount announced by the central and municipality competent authorities in the current year.
To qualify under the abovementioned lowest living index, documents shall be attached and the approval procedures of the application shall be done in accordance with the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, and 6th paragraph of the previous article.
The household assets described in the second item of the first paragraph include liquid assets and real assets; the financial value of the assets shall be defined separately.
To calculate the number of members living in the household defined in the first paragraph of Article 4, except for the applicant, please also include the following:
2. First-degree lineal blood relatives.
3. Other lineal blood relatives and siblings who live in the same dwelling or who are registered in the same household.
4. Other than the above three, taxation obligees who support their family members financially are not required to include the amount spent in support at the time of reporting their combined income taxes.
The abovementioned applicant shall be represented by one of the persons registered in the household and with legal capacity. Exceptions may be granted, in case of extraordinary circumstances, by the municipality or county (city) competent authority.
Any household members listed above shall be excluded from the calculation if one or more of the following applies:
1. Foreign spouses or Mainland Chinese spouses who haven’t been registered in any household in Taiwan.
2. Elderly lineal blood relatives of single families who live separately from the household members, and who have never actually raised any of the household members.
3. Younger lineal blood relatives with no income, are married, and live separately from the household members.
4. The father or mother of single families who live separately from infant household members, who have never actually raised the infant household members, and who have never carried out parental duties and obligations to the infant household members.
5. A draftee or person serving alternative military service.
6. Individuals who receive government grants for education.
7. Individuals serving sentences, being detained, or taken into custody.
8. Individuals who have been missing and have not been found after being reported to police authorities for more than six months.
9. In the case where individuals who have failed to carry out the obligation due to special reasons, and has consequently caused the applicant to live in hardship, the entire case must be reviewed and evaluated by the municipality or county (city) competent authority. Usually, it is not suggested to be listed in the calculation.
The above paragraph 9 shall be under the handling guidelines made by the municipality or county (city) competent authority and be reported to the central competent authority for review.
The municipality or county (city) competent authority shall assist the applicant mentioned in subparagraphs 4th and 9th of Paragraph 3 to grant alimony from the person who fails to carry out their duty of support.
The total family income referred to in Paragraph 1 of Article 4 and subparagraph 1 of the 1st paragraph of Article 4-1 is defined as follows:
1. Salary or wage, calculated based on the following rules:
A. For those employed, the calculation shall apply to the following:
(1) The calculation shall be based on the actual total income of the total number of family members counted for the current year, and relating documents shall be provided. Should documents not be available, the calculation will be based on the total income listed in the most current tax application.
(2) If there is no income found on the current tax application and no wage related document is provided, the calculation of total income should be based on the average salary listed in the salary survey report based on job categorization in Taiwan.
(3) If not found in the abovementioned salary survey, the calculation shall be based on the average salary calculated by the amount newly-hired employees earn in all industries as published by the competent authorities in charge of labour affairs.
B. For persons who are capable of working but are unemployed, the calculation shall be based on base pay. As for persons who are recognized by the public employment service centre as jobless, including those who are at the age of 55 or elder or jobless after having failed to find a job after three job matches have been conducted by the public employment service centre, or who are participating in full-time vocational training, the period of unemployment will not be used in calculation. Unemployment benefits shall be listed and calculated as other income.
However, living allowance for persons who join the cooperative education program will not be calculated in accordance with the implementation of high school cooperative education law and Cooperative Education Student Rights Protection Act.
2. Financial benefits from liquid (chattel) and real assets.
3. Other income: income that is non-social aid and other than those listed in the preceding two clauses.
As for the salary mentioned in items 2 and 3 of Subparagraph 1 of Paragraph 1 for aborigines, please consider the employment survey report published by the central competent authority in charge of aboriginal affairs, and make the calculation based on the main salary ratio between the general public and aboriginal population. The base pay must be used if the amount obtained from the abovementioned calculation is below the base pay.
The income referred to in Subparagraph 3 of Paragraph 1 shall be enacted by the municipality and county (city) competent authorities.
The municipality and county (city) competent authorities may interview the applicant household to confirm their total household income and report of household assets. Any persons found to have confirmed falsified shall be removed from the name list of low-income household or middle-to-low-income household, and shall return all subsidies paid upon being informed of time limit in writing under the order given.
The land types listed as follows shall not be included in household-owned fixed assets:
1. Aboriginal reservation areas that have not yielded economic benefits yet.
2. Land that has not yielded economic benefits that are reserved for infrastructure, and existing roads which could be used for public access.
3. Land that has not yielded economic benefits that are for national safety use, environmental protection use, historical site reservation use in non-urban areas, graveyard use, and water conservancy.
4. Land that has not yielded economic benefits that had been obtained in the division process after the dismissal of an ancestral worship association.
5. Land that has not yielded economic benefits that are for agricultural, pastoral, and aquaculture uses in severe land subsidence areas.
6. Land for agricultural, pastoral, aquaculture, and forestry uses that has not yielded economic benefits due to natural disaster.
7. Addresses that have been announced as undergoing pollution remediation in accordance with the law. Exceptions may exist when the person producing the pollution is the owner of the polluted land.
To recognize the land types mentioned above, each central industry competent authority shall coordinate with the central and regional competent authorities of this Act.
Persons who qualify as being “capable of employment” referred to in this act are individuals older than 16 and under 65 without any of the following conditions:
1. Individuals who are under 25 and unable to work because they are currently enrolled in courses from National Open University, high school or higher level further education course(s), professional courses, credit courses, weekend or evening courses, or distant education courses.
2. Physically or mentally challenged individuals.
3. Individuals suffering from trauma or serious illness are required to receive treatment for 3 or more months, and are therefore, unable to work.
4. Individuals who are sole care providers for physically or mentally challenged dependants or patients with specific illnesses incapable of taking care of themselves and currently living together, and therefore, unable to work.
5. Individuals taking care of younger lineal blood relatives under the age of 6, and are therefore unable to work.
6. Women who are 6 months pregnant or who are due to give birth within 2 months, and are therefore unable to work; or women who should not to work in accordance with a doctor’s prescription during the pregnancy.
7. Individuals who have become subject to the order of commencement of guardianship.
Competent authorities of all levels shall establish special departments or assign specific personnel to execute the operations related to public assistance.
When an assistance item under this Act is of the same nature as prescribed in another social welfare law, a preferential provision shall apply, and the welfare service provided under the other law will not be affected.
The amount of assistance granted by the government and received by each person each month under this Act or other acts shall not exceed the basic wage of the current year of announcement by the government.
The applicant and household members have a duty to provide real and actual information that the municipality and county (city) competent authorities need for the execution of procedures within this Act.
If any person receiving public assistance is found to have committed any of the following, the competent authority shall cease public assistance, and the subsidies already paid may be recalled:
1. Provision of false information.
2. Hiding or refusing to provide information required by the competent authority.
3. Acquisition of public assistance prescribed in this Act by cheating or other dishonest means.
Educators, nursery nurses, social workers, medical officers, the clerks of each village (li) and police officers shall report to the municipality or county (city) competent authority once they notice while they are executing their duties any individual or household needs public assistance.
Once the municipality or county (city) competent authority notice or is informed of the report aforesaid, officers responsible for the investigations related shall be appointed and necessary assistances shall be provided in accordance with the relevant law.
The report procedure and the term for handling in the aforesaid two paragraphs shall be defined by the central competent authority.
Chapter 2 Living Support
The low-income households described in Article 4 may apply for living support from their local competent authority.
The competent authority shall send staff to investigate the family environment and economic conditions of the applicant. A decision shall be reached within 5 days commencing from receipt of the abovementioned application, and the relevant township (city, district) office may be called upon to perform investigations as necessary.
In principle, living support shall be paid in cash. However, according to the actual circumstances, proper public assistance institutions, social welfare institutions, or other families may be entrusted to provide shelter.
The central and municipal competent authorities shall work out the rate for the abovementioned payment in cash according to the difference of income. The municipal competent authorities shall report the rate to the central competent authority for review and reference.
The amount paid in cash described in the first paragraph shall be adjusted once every four years by central and municipality competent authorities based on the growth rate of consumer price index of the most recent year compared to that of the previous year announced by the central department of budget, accounting and statistics, except for 0 or negative growth rate.
When a member of a low-income household meets any of the following, the competent authority may offer an additional subsidy, which shall be no more than 40% of the original amount of cash:
1. 65 years or older.
2. Having been pregnant for 3 months or longer.
3. Holding physical or mental disability certification.
The standards of the abovementioned subsidies shall be determined by the central competent authority.
Municipality and county (city) competent authorities shall periodically investigate the low-income and middle-to-low-income households every year.
For those who cease to receive the subsidies because of an increase of income or assets, the municipality and county (city) competent authorities shall actively reassess their needs, assist them in applying for other related welfare subsidies or allowances, and shall provide or transfer them to the relevant employment service based on their needs.
Municipality and county (city) competent authorities shall send staff from time to time to visit and gain an understanding of the living situation of persons receiving living support; necessary assistance and counseling shall also be provided. In case of an increase or decrease of income or assets, the assistance rate shall be adjusted or the assistance shall be stopped. The above methods also apply to cases where the household is enjoying a comfortable life that does not meet the low-income or middle-to-low-income household conditions, and where the maintenance obligees have the capability of providing maintenance.
Municipality and county (city) competent authorities shall, according to needs, provide persons in low-income or middle-to-low-income households who are able to work with vocational training, employment services, business initiation aid, or work relief programs to help them to be self-sufficient.
The municipality and county (city) competent may, based upon low-income or middle-to-low-income household needs, provide them career counseling, loan interest support for establishing careers, subsidies for transportation when job seeking, temporary childcare, and allowances for daytime care within the job seeking or vocational training period, and other services and subsidies for obtaining employment.
The low-income and middle-to-low-income households receiving services described in the first paragraph of this article whose income has increased due to employment (including self-employment) within a specified period and amount may have the increased income excluded from the total household income described in the first paragraph of Article 4, and the first subparagraph of the first paragraph of the Article 4-1. The specified period shall be no longer than three years, in cases where needs have been assessed and identified may be extended one more year. Definitions of the published increase in income, the period of exclusion, and the amount limit shall be determined by the municipality and county (city) competent authorities.
No assistance will be provided for those who refuse to accept training or aid, or refuse to work after accepting training or aid.
Those who meet the subsidies conditions in other acts that have common provisions as this Act shall not receive subsidies from both legal provisions.
To assist low-income or middle-to-low income households actively achieving the ability to be independent, the municipality and county (city) competent authorities shall develop a plan for freeing them from poverty by using private or public resources.
The increased incomes and savings of abovementioned low-income or middle-to-low income households resulting from the project within a specified period and amount may be excluded from the total household income and household assets described in the first paragraph of Article 4. The time limit shall be no longer than three years, and in cases where needs have been assessed and identified may be extended one more year. Definitions of the published increase in income, the period of exclusion, and the amount limit shall be determined by the municipality and county (city) competent authorities.
The object, embodiment, and other related matters of escape from poverty described in the first paragraph shall be determined by the central competent authority.
For the purpose of having low-income and middle-to-low-income households participate in and better integrate into society, municipality and county (city) competent authorities may develop plans relating to educational training, community activities, and non-profit social services.
According to actual requirements and financial resources, the municipality and county (city) competent authorities may provide low-income households with the following special assistance and services:
1. Nutrition subsidy for puerperas and infants.
2. Nursing subsidy.
3. Education subsidy.
4. Funeral subsidy.
5. Home care services.
6. Procreation subsidy.
7. Other necessary assistance and services.
For persons who ought to be assisted and the content of the special assistance and services listed above, the application conditions and procedures shall be determined by the municipality and county (city) competent authorities.
For the purpose of helping low-income and Middle-Low-Income households to obtain a proper residence and living environment, the competent authority of residence at each level shall provide the following residency support:
1. The priority to live in a government or a private residence subsidized by the government that is rented to the financially or socially disadvantaged.
2. A subsidy for rental payment.
3. A subsidy for the basic repairs of a residence.
4. Loan interest subsidies for purchasing a residence.
5. Loan interest subsidies for building a residence.
6. Other necessary financial support for the residence.
The regulations of the abovementioned subsidy qualification, subsidy standards, and any other matters must be obeyed and shall be determined by the central residency competent authority together with the central competent authority.
Members of a low-income or middle-to-low-income household who are studying in a public or private high school, or educational institutions higher than high schools, may apply for a reduced tuition and miscellaneous fee; the reduction standards are as follows:
1. Student of a low-income household: All tuition and miscellaneous fees reduced.
2. Student from a middle-to-low-income household: 60% of tuition and miscellaneous fees reduced.
The abovementioned application for reduced tuition and student living fees and other matters to be abided by shall be determined by the competent educational administrations.
Those who meet the subsidies conditions in other acts that have common provisions as this Act shall not receive subsidies from both legal provisions.
The Articles amended on November 22th, 2011 in the first paragraph, shall be enacted from August 1st, 2011. The Articles amended on December 11, 2015 shall be enacted from February 1, 2016.
The central competent authority may provide middle-to-low-income households short-term living subsidies according to the actual requirements and under the circumstances where the nation’s economy is undergoing significant change.
If the police find a homeless person, with the exception of if the person has already made an application per another provision of law, the police shall immediately notify the department (unit) of social administration, find out the identity of the homeless, and cooperate with the department (unit) to send the homeless to a public assistance institution for shelter and assistance. When the identity is known, the family shall be notified. For the homeless who refuse to be sheltered, they shall be listed in records and shall receive information related to social welfare.
Regulations for shelter and assistance for the homeless shall be specified by the municipal or county (city) competent authorities.
For the purpose of streamlining the efficiency of shelter and assisting the homeless, the municipality and county (city) competent authorities shall be the coordinating authority of police affairs, public health affairs, social affairs, citizen affairs, justice affairs, and labour affairs authorities to establish a system for shelter and assisting the homeless, and shall hold a regular meeting for homeless assistance issues.
Chapter 3 Medical Subsidy
In any of the following situations, relevant certificates shall be submitted to the competent authority at the locality of residence to apply for medical subsidies:
1. Injury or illness of a low-income family member
2. Serious injury or illness, for which the patient and the maintenance obligee can’t afford the medical expenses.
Those who can get payment from the National Health Insurance may not claim medical subsidies according to the above paragraph.
The insurance premium for low-income households to cover the National Health Insurance shall be paid from the budget of the central competent authorities.
As for the insurance premium for middle-to-low-income households to cover the National Health Insurance, this shall be paid by themselves and 50% of it shall be paid by the central competent authority.
Payment items, methods, and standards of medical subsidy shall be determined by the central and municipality competent authorities. The municipality competent authorities shall report to the central competent authority for review and reference.
Chapter 4 Emergency Aid
Emergency aid shall be applied for under any of the following situations; relevant certificates to the competent authority at the locality of residence shall be provided:
1. A household that has no money to handle funeral and burial in case of the death of a household member.
2. A household that is impoverished due to accidental injury or disease of a household member.
3. A household that is impoverished due to the inability of the bread winner to work due to unemployment, being missing, military service or alternative military service, imprisonment, detainment, police custody, or other causes.
4. A household that is impoverished due to the compulsory execution, freezing or other of property or saving accounts, which results in funds being inaccessible.
5. A household that has applied for a welfare project or insurance payment and is impoverished due to waiting during the approval procedure period
6. A household that is impoverished due to other major causes, which has been reviewed by the municipality or county (city) government and has been recognized for subsidy.
At the request of the applicant, the local competent authority shall provide assistance for those who have drifted away from home, and have no money to return home.
In principle, the assistance referred to in the above two articles shall be paid in cash. The payment method and standards shall be determined by the municipality or county (city) competent authorities, and reported to the central competent authority for review and reference.
The local township (city, district) offices shall bury those who die without dependents and inheritance.
Chapter 5 Disaster Aid
Disaster aid shall be provided in case of flood, fire, typhoon, hail, drought, earthquake, or other disasters that cause serious impact to people and their living situation.
Depending on the circumstance of disaster, the municipality or county (city) competent authorities shall provide the following disaster aid:
1. Assistance in first aid and subsequent treatment.
2. Provision of food for the victim families.
3. Provision of remedy and aid for injury, death, or disappearance.
4. Assistance and guidance in construction of houses.
5. Establishment of temporary disaster shelters.
6. Other necessary assistance.
The municipality or county (city) competent authorities shall take the abovementioned assistance measures following the regulations enacted per the actual requirements.
The municipality or county (city) competent authorities may request civil organizations or institutions to assist in disaster aid, when necessary.
Chapter 6 Public Assistance Institutions
Besides social welfare institutions, the municipal or county (city) competent authorities shall, according to the actual requirements, establish or assist the people to establish necessary institutions for implementation of this Act and provision of public assistance.
The charges payable by the assisted of the abovementioned social welfare institutions shall be subsidized by the competent authorities.
The institutions established by the municipal or county (city) competent authorities under the Paragraph 1 will not charge fees.
To establish a public or private assistance institution, application shall be submitted to the local competent authority for permission. With the permission for establishment granted, registration of the incorporated foundation shall be completed within 3 months. When there are justifiable reasons, application for postponement by 3 months may be submitted to the competent authority for approval.
After approval, the abovementioned application shall be reported to the central competent authority for review and reference.
The scale, area, facilities, staff, and other standards of public assistance institutions shall be determined by the central competent authority.
The competent authorities shall assist, supervise, and appraise the public assistance institutions.
Reward measures for public assistance institutions shall be determined by the competent authorities.
When a public assistance institution does not perform adequately, infringes upon the original approved establishment standards, or shall be improved according to the results of the appraisal mentioned in the first paragraph, the competent authority shall notify the institution to make improvements within a specified time limit.
Without due reasons, public assistance institutions shall not refuse to provide shelter entrusted by the competent authority under this Act.
Public assistance institutions shall accept staff dispatched by the competent authority to examine equipment, accounting and other records.
Public assistance institutions shall be operated by professionals.
Public assistance institutions shall use subsidies received from the government according to the specified purposes, and list them in detailed in accounting records. In case of infringement of the abovementioned provision, the department providing the subsidies may recall the subsidy.
The provisions added under the above paragraph shall be listed in the management and auditing processes of the institution’s property.
Chapter 7 Aid Funds
The funds required for processing the each aid operation under this Act shall be paid from the budgets separately compiled by the central and municipality or county (city) municipal competent authorities.
The limitation of the range paid and the use of the subsidy to be given by the central competent authority to the municipality or county (city) governments to process the aids listed in this Act in accordance with Paragraph 3 of Article 69 of Local Government Act and regulations related shall be determined.
Chapter 8 Penal Provisions
When a public assistance institution infringes Paragraph 1 of Article 29, or has not legally registered incorporated foundations within the specified time limit, the director of the institution shall pay a fine of NT$60,000-300,000. The director’s name will be publicized and improvements shall be made within the time limit under the order given.
No new assistance seeker shall be sheltered during the time limit for making improvements. Should the above be infringed, a sum of NT$60,000-300,000 will be fined, and consecutive punishment may be executed.
In case the institution does not make proper improvements within the time limit mentioned in the first paragraph, the director of the institution shall pay a fine of NT$100,000-500,000. The name of the institution will be publicized, consecutive punishment may be executed, and the institution may be stopped from operating under the order given if necessary.
Disobedience of the stoppage order under the above paragraph will incur a fine of NT$200,000-600,000, consecutive punishment may be executed, and the permit may be cancelled if necessary.
For the public assistance institution under a time limit for making improvements in accordance with the 3rd paragraph of Article 31, no new assistance seeker shall be sheltered during the time limit for making improvements. Should the above be infringed, a sum of NT$60,000-300,000 will be fined, and consecutive punishment may be executed.
When a private institution for public assistance does not improve within the time limit notified by the competent authority according to the Paragraph 3 of Article 31, a sum NT$60,000-300,000 will be fined, and consecutive punishment may be executed. The institution may be temporarily stopped from operating if necessary for a minimum period of one month and up to one year. The name of the institution shall be publicized. If inadequate improvements are made and severe infringements have been made, the permit shall be cancelled. In cases where the institutions are companies, the companies shall be dismissed.
Disobedience of the stoppage order under the above paragraph will incur a fine of NT$200,000-1,000,000, and consecutive punishment may be executed.
In case of a public assistance institution being temporarily stopped, permanently ceasing operation or closing down, abated or abolished, the public assistance institution shall properly shelter the persons under their care at the time. In case appropriate shelters cannot be provided by the institution, the competent authority shall appropriately make alternative arrangements for those sheltered in the institution, and the public assistance institutions shall cooperate with such arrangement. Otherwise, enforced execution may be performed, a sum of NT$60,000-300,000 may be fined, and the competent authority may take over all responsibilities if necessary.
When a public assistance institution infringes Article 32 or 33, the competent authority may issue a fine of NT$200,000-1,000,000, and may require the institution to make improvements within a specified time limit. In case improvement is not made within the time limit, the permit may be cancelled.
Chapter 9 Supplementary Provisions
The right to claim each payment or subsidy in cash according to this Act shall not be detained, transferred, or used for guarantee purposes.
Government agencies at every level and public assistance institutions shall manage private or groups donations effectively. Cash donations shall be managed in a bank account designed for public assistance use. However, if donors specify purposes, donations shall be arranged accordingly.
Open investigations shall be conducted periodically into the accepted donation described above. All relevant matters shall be subject to the Enforcement rules of this Act.
Applicants seeking payment of cash or subsidy under this Act shall open a specific bank account in a financial institution with the identify documents provided by the municipality and county (city) competent authorities. The name and address of the financial institution, the name of the account, and the household’s registered name shall be detailed and reported to the municipality and county (city) competent authorities for approval so as to properly use the account for saving each payment of cash or subsidy.
The savings in the account described above shall not be detained, transferred, or used for guarantee purposes.
The competent authority may ask the relevant authority (institutions), Associations, corporations or individuals to provide the necessary information needed for the operation of the support efforts under this Act.
The competent authority shall properly practice the fiduciary duty for the information gained through the above description. The competent authority shall conduct a safety check on the operation of information; with the retention, processing and utilization of the information being subject to the Personal Information Protection Act.
Enforcement rules for this Act will be prescribed by the central competent authority.
This Act will take effect upon promulgation.
The Articles amended on June 12, 2009 shall be enacted from November 23rd, 2009.
The Articles amended on December 10th, 2010 shall be enacted from July 1st, 2011. However, before the Articles amended on June 12, 2009 has already been enacted. In case low-income households approved by the municipality and county (city) competent authorities do not meet the descriptions stated in Article 9 or Article 14 of this Act, the household shall be removed from the low-income name list after December 31st, 2011. Households that may be paid an increased sum of cash for living subsidies due to the municipality and county (city) competent authorities act of reclassifying the level of the low-income household based on the amended Articles, shall be paid the increased sum from July 1st 2011 to December 31st 2011.