TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Education (MOE) announced Monday (Aug. 16) that parents of foreign children who have permanent residence in Taiwan have until Sept. 30 to access a COVID relief subsidy of NT$10,000 (US$358).
On June 15, the government began dispersing a subsidy of NT$10,000 per child under the "Epidemic Prevention Subsidy for Families with Children" (孩童家庭防疫補貼) relief plan. Initially, those eligible were Taiwanese citizens whose children are in preschool or elementary school, are special education students in junior high or high school, or are under the age of two and born before the end of the Level 3 epidemic alert on July 26.
The Cabinet on June 24 announced that it would be extending its relief benefits to 27,000 foreign permanent residents directly impacted by the pandemic. Among these benefits is the child subsidy, with the application process to remain the same.
However, foreign couples with Alien Permanent Resident Certificates (APRC) have notified Taiwan News that they were told foreign residents are ineligible for child subsidies. When Taiwan News contacted a National Development Council representative about the matter, they said there must have been a mistake and to "give the government time" to sort it out.
Representatives on the 1988 hotline stated that foreign nationals are not currently eligible for the program. Both advised waiting until July 15 to see if the MOE would make any other announcements on the subject.
On Monday, the MOE issued a press release in which it announced that children who held permanent residence or obtained Taiwanese citizenship and household registration before the end of the Level 3 alert and meet the age or special ed requirements can apply for the subsidy before Sept. 30. The announcement stated that parents of these children can obtain the subsidies by going to the 10000.gov.tw website, ATMs for three major banks (CTBC Bank, Taishin International Bank, and Cathay United Bank), or the post office.
When Taiwan News contacted an MOE representative on Thursday (Aug. 19) to inquire about the cause of the confusion over foreign eligibility, she said that in some cases, parents made mistakes when entering their children's identification numbers.
In some cases, the parents are Taiwanese citizens whose child is not or does not have permanent residency, she said. In other cases, the parents are divorced, and the parent applying for the benefit does not have legal custody of the child.
She stressed that as long as the child has permanent resident status and is in the specified age range, they are eligible for the funds. Given the varying circumstances, she recommended calling the MOE's toll-free hotline for the subsidy program at 0809-098001 or 02-7752-3766.
Over the past two months, the subsidy has been distributed to 2.22 million recipients, accounting for 96.34% of those eligible, according to the MOE. The ministry estimates that 78,781 eligible children have not yet received the funds.