Taipei, Sept. 22 (CNA) There were 137,000 low-income households in Taiwan as of the end of June, an increase of 20.2 percent from the same period last year, the Ministry of the Interior said Saturday.
The number of low-income individuals for the same period stood at 338,000 people, up by 22.4 percent, and increased to 1.5 percent of the total population as a result of eased regulations governing public assistance introduced last year, the ministry said.
The implementation of an amendment to the Public Assistance Act in July 2011 allowed 71,000 households or 228,000 individuals, considered to be "lower middle income" earners, to receive government subsidies as of this June.
Currently, 2.6 percent of families in Taiwan and 2.4 percent of the total population are receiving help from the government, the ministry said.
According to the ministry, Kaohsiung City, New Taipei City and Taipei offered assistance to more families and people than other localities, while Taitung County, Pingtung County and Penghu County recorded the highest percentages of those included in the program based on the total household-population ratio.
From January to June this year, local governments around Taiwan distributed NT$6 billion (US$204 million) of funds, increasing by NT$1.84 billion from last year, it said.
Some 96.4 percent of the figure, a total of NT$5.78 billion, was given as living allowances, the ministry said.
(By Hsieh Chia-chen and Maia Huang)