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Applications for S. Korea's latest COVID-19 relief funds begin Monday Updated: 2021-09-06 17:16:37 KST

People in South Korea have started applying for their COVID-19 relief funds this Monday.
Those eligible will each receive up to 250-thousand won or about 216 U.S. dollars.
During the first week, applications can only be made on designated dates.
People whose birth year ends with one or six can apply on Monday, while those with two or seven can apply on Tuesday, and so on.
From Saturday, applications are open to everyone.
Applications can be made on credit card websites, mobile apps and at call centers or through the homepage of the National Health Insurance Service.
Starting next Monday, they can also be submitted offline at banks or local community centers on designated dates just like this week's online registration.
People can choose to get the payment either through their credit or debit card, or as a local gift certificate, or prepaid card.
Applications will run until October 29th, and the money must be spent by the end of December.
You can use the money at places like traditional markets, local supermarkets and convenience stores.
But, it cannot be spent at department stores, large supermarket chains, bars, clubs, or on food delivery apps.

"Most of the payments are expected be doled out before the country's Chuseok holiday in mid-September."

This round is for everyone except those in the top 12 percent income bracket.
But because these payments cost the government 11 trillion won or around 9.5 billion U.S. dollars not everyone's happy about it.

"Paying money to people as COVID-19 relief funds is great, the purpose is really good. But the money comes from the taxpayer. If people get it, they'll spend it, but consumer spending will fall again anyway."

Others are in favor of the payments, but say they should be bigger and directed to those who really need them.

"Why does the amount have to be same for everyone? I think it would be great if we could give more money to people in need.”

An expert here says that the relief funds will only have a marginal effect in boosting spending, as it's less than one percent of the country's total consumption.
Also, he says that last year's relief payments, given to everyone, did not drive up consumption very much.

"So, last year, the government provided subsidies to the general public. And that time, the total amount was about 14 trillion won, which is a little bigger than this time. But last year, statistics show that about half of the amount was saved, not consumed right away.

He expects this time to be the same.
Min Suk-hyen, Arirang News."
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