The Korean government provides various welfare services for citizens with low income, women in need, the disabled, children and youths. Foreigners living in Korea are also eligible for these benefits if they qualify.
National Basic Livelihood Security System
- Ministry Of Health and Welfare website: www.mohw.go.kr (Available in English) ☎ 129
- A system that secures basic livelihood for people with low incomes, or who have difficulties sustaining livelihood, or who face financial difficulties due to sudden accidents or diseases etc.
Based on the median income which corresponds to the middle tier when individual incomes of citizens are ranked. Customized personal payouts are handed out after recipients are selected according to selection criteria by income levels, which is based on the median income.
- Area of support differs depending on selection criteria.
|Customized Welfare Payouts|
|Livelihood Allowance||Medical Allowance||Housing Allowance||Education Allowance|
|Based on number of||Based on number of||Based on number of||Based on number of|
|30% below||Livelihood||40% below||Medical||43% below||Housing||50% below||Education|
|(1.356 million won)||(1,808 million won)||(1.943 million won)||(2.26 million won)|
- For households with 4 members
- A type of health care institution that professionally performs oriental medical treatment. Based on traditional Korean medical science, treatment methods such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, moxibustion and vital energy are mainly used.
① Livelihood Allowance
Livelihood allowances corresponding to 30% of the median income are given out to people with household debt and income 30% below median income level
② Medical Allowance
Reduces burden of medical fees by 'maintaining current security levels' for people with income 40% below median income level, and who have high debt ratio caused by medical fees.
③ Housing Allowance
Housing enhancements or 'actual rental fees' not exceeding standard rental fees are given to people with income 43% below median income level and whose burden of rental fees is relatively higher compared to income.
※ Standard rental fee is calculated by taking into account the minimum housing standard, and is usually around 100 to 340 thousand won.
④ Education Allowance
To prevent an increase in the number of people who come under the anti-poverty policy and widespread poverty, education fees are subsidized for people with income 50% below median income level.
A foreigner registered according to Article 31 of the Immigration Control Act, who fulfills the following conditions.
- A foreigner who is married to a Korean citizen and pregnant, or whose Korean spouse is pregnant.
- A foreigner who is married to a Korean citizen and has a minor child dependent who is a Korean citizen (including step-parent and adoptive parent relationships)
- A foreigner who is living together with his or her spouse's immediate family who possess Korean nationality and ancestry.
- A foreigner who has divorced his or her spouse of Korean nationality, or whose spouse has passed away and has a minor child dependent or is pregnant with her deceased spouse's child.
How to Apply
Application for allowance (At Dong community service center)
Screening (Verification of income and assets, and reported information)
Application decision (Decision on eligibility and details of allowance according to screening outcome)
Allowance distribution (Payment of fixed allowance in cash or payment in kind)
- National Pension Service website: www.nps.or.kr (Available in English, Chinese, Indonesian, Thai and Mongolian) ☎ 1355
- A system where members make regular contributions as they work for income so that they may receive pension payouts that help maintain basic livelihood when they become no longer able to earn money for some reason.
- 9% of the member's standard income
- Foreign employers or workers aged between 18 to 60 years old whose workplaces subscribe to the national pension scheme
- Foreign employers or workers aged between 18 to 60 years old who live in Korea and are not registered as a corporate member
- Does not apply to trainees (training employees are eligible), foreign students and diplomats etc. who are excluded by law
- When declared inapplicable according to the national pension act of the foreigner's home country
When foreign workers from countries that have concluded social security
agreements with Korea, submit a membership certificate from his or her
- For more information on membership eligibility, visit『 the National Pension Service website(www.nps.or.kr) → Information on Pension → Easy Guide to National Pension → Signing Up and Registration → Foreign Members』
Countries Excluded from the National Pension Coverage (22 countries) [Based on year 2018]
The Republic of South Africa, Nepal, Maldives, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Armenia, Swaziland, Ethiopia, Iran, Egypt, Tonga, Pakistan, Fiji, Cambodia, Singapore, Belarus, East Timor, Georgia, Nigeria and Malaysia
How to Apply
- For corporate members of the National Pension Plan: Apply at workplace
- For foreigners who are regional members: Register in person at the National Pension Office
- If foreigners are eligible for coverage under the National Pension Scheme, they may receive Old age Pension, Disability Pension or Survivor Pension.
Foreign workers are eligible for lump-sum refunds when they leave
Korea. However, lumpsum refunds may not be paid for certain
nationalities and stay statuses.
- ※ For more information on Lump-sum Refund (the amount of money refunded from the national pension scheme when a foreigner leaves Korea), visit『 the National Pension Service website (www.nps.or.kr) → Information on Pension → Easy Guide to National Pension → Pension Types and Claims → Pension Payouts for Foreigners』
Emergency Welfare Support
- Ministry of Health and Welfare website: www.mohw.go.kr (Available in English) ☎ 129
- A system to help people in the lower income group who have difficulty sustaining livelihood due to sudden crisis. Necessary welfare services such as livelihood, medical and housing support etc. are quickly offered so that they may overcome the crisis.
A foreigner residing in Korea who fulfills the following conditions.
- If it is assessed that the situation is unqualified for assistance or if conditions are not met, further assistance may be ceased and allowances received
previously must be returned.
- A foreigner who is married to a Korean citizen
- A foreigner who has divorced his or her spouse of Korean nationality or whose spouse has passed away or A foreigner who is taking care of his or her immediate family (parents and children) of Korean nationality and ancestry
- A foreigner recognized as a refugee
- A foreigner who has, without any fault of his or her own, suffered damages from fire, crime or natural disasters
Also, a foreigner who is acknowledged by the Ministry of Health and
Welfare as one who requires urgent help
- A foreigner who has, without any fault of his or her own, suffered damages from natural disasters
- A foreigner who resides
How to Apply
- For more information, visit『 the Ministry of Health and Welfare website (www.mohw.go.kr) → Policies → Welfare Basic Livelihood Security Emergency Welfare Support 』
STEP1 Application for support and registration
Ministry of Health and Welfare Call Center (☎ 129) → Head of City, County and Ward (Si, Gun and Gu) Office → Applicants etc. → Ministry of Health and Welfare Call Center (☎ 129)
STEP2 Current situation check and advanced support
Head of City, County and Ward (Si, Gun and Gu) Office (Personnel in charge of emergency support)
Income and assets investigation
STEP4 Suitability review
Cessation of support / return of financial support if the Emergency Support Review Committee (citizen-government joint cooperation) decides that the conditions for support are not met. Support suspension/subsidy return when the requirements are not met
STEP5 Aftercare and support
Existing systems such as Basic Livelihood Security System etc. / annual program