The Korean Social Security System provides public assistance and social insurance for our citizens with the aim of securing a dignified life for all.
Dignified Life for All
The Ministry has implemented a variety of social security programs to ensure the basic standard of living and to raise the overall quality of life for all citizens. At the same time, the Ministry is striving to identify and provide coverage for those who are in need and have not yet been included in the welfare system.
One of the successful government initiatives the Ministry has implemented so far is the Basic Livelihood Security Program (BLSP). Introduced in 2000, the program has reduced the overall poverty level of Koreans by defining and promoting the rights of every citizen to live a life that ensures the basic standard of living.
The initial system introduced in 2000 used an “all or nothing” assessment process to determine those in need of assistance. This meant that only those below a uniform income threshold were eligible for BLSP benefits. In 2015, the Ministry introduced an amendment to the program, which now allows citizens to receive customized benefits. The amendment defines different levels of income eligibility threshold for the following four categories: livelihood, health, housing and education.
This resulted in wider populations enjoying an increased level of benefits, while ensuring that households continue to receive the benefits in areas of need even when they are above the income threshold for other categories.
In addition, the Ministry provides disability pensions, child support benefits, as well as basic pensions for the elderly. In September 2018, we plan to provide child allowances for families with children aged 0-5 and increase the basic and disability pensions.
Another successful social insurance program the Ministry has established is the National Health Insurance Systems (NHIS). In 1977, the NHIS was first introduced to professionals in the workforce. Within 12 years after its introduction, we were able to achieve universal healthcare coverage, which created a stable basis of healthcare for all citizens. Through universal health coverage, all citizens are able to receive the benefits for disease prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation, as well as for the promotion of their overall wellness.
In 2013, we expanded national health insurance coverage to include severe diseases, such as cancer, heart, cerebrovascular, and other rare diseases that had not been previously covered by NHIS. Now, we are further expanding the coverage for areas not covered by the current NHIS program, such as elective services, fees for higher-grade hospital beds, and care services. The Ministry seeks to ensure equity for all by reducing the burden of health insurance contributions for lower-income households.
The National Pension System (NPS) was implemented in 1988 as part of the social insurance program to guarantee a stable source of income for seniors and retirees. Under this program, individuals who are unable to maintain their livelihood due to an accident or a disease are eligible for government assistance for as long as needed. Eleven years after its initial implementation, the NPS was opened to all citizens. Aside from government workers and those enrolled in occupational pensions, all citizens between the ages of 18 and 60 are required to enroll in the NPS. The NPS provides lifetime coverage for individuals when they reach an eligible age and when they fulfill their 10-year contribution payment requirement.
In order to ensure that most of our citizens receive pension benefits, the Ministry has been pursuing policies that partially subsidize contribution payment, improve enrollment conditions for low-wage and part-time workers, and establish a pension credit policy.
These policies allow individuals to receive pension credits for periods when they were deemed unable to sufficiently contribute to the system for various reasons, such as military services, child birth and unemployment.