By Eoghan Olkeriil Ngirudelsang

Child raising subsidies will be distributed to low-income families for the first time in Palau. The government will be giving financial help of 100 dollars per child to parents who are earning 15,000 dollars or below annually. According to the regulations governing this new social program, the criteria of eligibility which is an income of 15,000 dollars or below is applied to individual parents; not combined income. This means, if two parents have a collective income of more than 15,000 dollars but as individuals are making less than $15,000 per year then they are eligible for the subsidy. However, according to the regulations, a child can only be claimed once by one parent per year. Regulations further state that only up to six children could be claimed by one parent.

There are many criteria’s for this subsidy with the first criteria being a parent eligible must be a Palauan citizen raising a child who is also a Palauan citizen. At a radio interview yesterday August 28, in answering a question of whether a foreigner who adopted a Palauan child is eligible for this subsidy; Director Madraisau clarified that “It is clear in the regulations that both parent and child must be Palauan citizens to be eligible”. In the same interview, Director Madraisau added that the application process requires that “If you are not the biological parent of a child, there must be legal documents from the court whether they are adoption papers or any legal documents from the court authorizing you as the primary caretaker of the child.” “Unfortunately, power of attorney does not apply, It must be a legal court document.” she further added.

As for self-employed parents, they are eligible for the subsidy if they provide documents from the ministry of finance to show that they earned $15,000 or less last tax year. Social security and pension plan income will also be considered if parents applying for this subsidy are retired.

In a radio interview yesterday, “the application is now available effective today” said Hera Subediang, chief of the division of human services. “The list of required documents are available with the application form for one to follow and submit. In case of any questions, there are also numbers included in the application form for you to call.” she added.

The application is available on the website of the ministry of health and human services, “We will be bringing some of the application forms to PCAA office, Meyuns satellite office, office of aging unit at Medalaii, dispensaries and clinics in Koror and all over Palau, as well at state offices” announced chief Subediang.

This child subsidy program “came about as part of RPPL 11-11 commonly known as tax reform act” said Minister Gaafar Ucherbelau which assigned the ministry of health and human services to first create regulations then oversee the implementation and disbursements of this child raising subsidy program.

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