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HOME  > Past issues  > 2018 April 4 - 10  > Poverty among elderly pushes up number of welfare families
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2018 April 4 - 10 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Poverty among elderly pushes up number of welfare families

April 4, 2018
The number of households living on welfare assistance hit a record high for 24 straight years, mainly due to an increase in the number of welfare-dependent elderly households. This shows that more and more elderly people have fallen into poverty.

The Abe administration since its inauguration has carried out cutbacks in social welfare program, such as cuts in pension benefits, an increase in public medical and nursing-care insurance premiums, and the imposition of heavier burdens associated with medical fees and nursing-care service charges. These measures have hit elderly people’s limited savings and small fixed incomes.

The Welfare Ministry on April 3 announced the results of its survey indicating that in 2016 the number of welfare families increased by 0.4% from the previous year to 1,637,045. Of the total, 51.4% were households whose members were 65 years or over.

The number of elderly households receiving public assistance went up by 4.3% from a year earlier to 837,029, the largest growth among all types of recipient households.

In the survey, asked about the reason for applying for public assistance, the largest number of respondents said that they had used up their meager savings.

Another government statistic revealed that 40% of elderly households in Japan are living on an annual income of less than two million yen. This means that many senior citizens are managing to survive by digging into their savings because their pension benefits are insufficient. Consequently, it is highly likely that those people will have to depend on livelihood assistance when they run out of their savings due to unexpected expenses and a drastic decrease in pension benefits after the death of a spouse.

In order to prevent elderly people from becoming impoverished, it is necessary to replace the Abe government with a people-oriented government.

Past related articles:
> 30% of elderly people in FY2035 will be in poverty [May 25, 2017]
> Deficits in elderly household budget increase by 80% in decade [June 11, 2016]

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