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Japan gov't to give part of child care benefit to single parents with disabilities

The Central Government Building No. 5 that houses the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry is seen in this file photo. (Mainichi)

In July 2019, a single mother receiving a basic disability pension filed a suit with the Kyoto District Court, claiming that the current system "runs counter to equality under the law as guaranteed by the Constitution" for failing to provide the child care allowance to single parents with disabilities. She pointed out that two-parent households are eligible for a portion of the child care benefit if the spouse of a disabled parent applies for the benefits, thus making it not "duplicate payments" of public allowances.

In response to these circumstances, the health ministry focused on extra benefits paid to recipients of the basic disability pension with children. It then decided to pay the child care allowance to single parents with disabilities after deducting the extra benefits, which the ministry deems are similar in nature to the child care allowance.

Under the current system, single parents on the level-2 basic disability pension raising one child are only entitled to the basic disability pension, which was 83,716 yen a month in fiscal 2019. After a review of the system, such households will be eligible for an extra 24,200 yen, or the balance between the child care allowance (42,910 yen) and extra benefits paid to basic disability pension recipients with a child (18,708 yen).

The health ministry will present the review plan to an expert panel of the Social Security Council to be convened later in January. The ministry aims to have the proposal enacted along with a bill for pension system reform to be submitted to the regular Diet session.

According to a ministry survey, the number of single-parent households was estimated at around 1.42 million across the country as of fiscal 2016, of which households on the disability pension accounted for roughly1.2%.

(Japanese original by Ai Yokota and Ryosuke Abe, Lifestyle and Medical News Department)

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