(Mar. 30, 2009) On January 23, 2009, the title of Taiwan's Statute for Providing Aid to Women's Families in Dire Straits was changed to the Statute for Providing Aid to Families in Dire Straits, and several of its articles were amended. In order to broaden the law's scope of application, its stated purpose is now to aid “families” (versus formerly “women's families”) in making a living, receiving emergency care, and obtaining assistance in improving their living situation on their own. Language has been removed regarding “strengthening consideration for the welfare of women” as part of the purpose of the Statute (art. 1). The definition of assistance has similarly been expanded to cover families in general (art. 2). (Amendment to Statute for Providing Aid to Family [sic] in Dire Straits, 6845 THE GAZETTE OF THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT 62-66 (Jan. 23, 2009), GLIN ID 215415, available at http://content.glin.gov/summary/215415.)
The amended Statute states in article 4, paragraph 1, that the term “family in dire straits refers to applicants whose…,” instead of stating “women in dire straits refers to women under 65 years of age whose…..” It also substitutes “spouse” for “husband” throughout its provisions. The stipulated, qualifying level of subsidy applicants' family income (based on household per capita distribution) remains the same, however: not to exceed 2.5 times the minimum cost of living per person per month, as announced by the government for that year, and 1.5 times the average person's monthly consumer expenditure in the Taiwan region, and family assets are not to exceed a fixed amount announced by the central authorities in charge. In addition, the applicant's situation must still conform to one of seven stipulated conditions, which are essentially unchanged from the earlier version of the law. However, among other revisions, “under 65 years of age” is added to condition (1), i.e., “being under 65 years of age and the spouse [formerly “husband”] has died or has disappeared without trace, a police-assisted search having failed to show results after six months,” and a new sub-condition of raising grandchildren under 18 years of age due to the parents' incapacity is added to condition (5).
Two new paragraphs have also been added to article 4 in connection with the above new condition. The requirements for claiming subsidies for children's sustenance, education, medical treatment, and nursery school care have been revised as well (arts. 7-10).
Finally, under the former Statute, women who met conditions 1, 2 (malicious abandonment or a husband's maltreatment that makes cohabitation unbearable, when a divorce decision has been rendered or registration for divorce by consent has been completed), 5, or 6 (the husband has been sentenced to, and is in the process of serving, more than a year of fixed term imprisonment or protective detention) under article 4, paragraph 1, were eligible to file an application for a loan subsidy for a start-up business (art. 12). The revised article expands that eligibility to spouses who are victims of domestic violence (condition (3) under art. 4, para. 1). The former Statute restricted applicants for child sustenance subsidies, nursery care subsidies, and start-up business loans who were victims of domestic violence to those who have obtained the custody of minor children through execution of a civil protection order or who have concrete proof that they are raising children on their own. The revised Statute no longer requires that proof for those applying for business loans (art. 12-1). (Id.)