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Means Tests in the South Korean Social Security System
Attach Author Kang Shinwook Date 2018/03/07

This study1) examines the means test and its asset limit that are used for social security benefit determinations in Korea. Many of the current social security programs in Korea, aside from social insurance schemes, decide the eligibility of beneficiaries on the basis of their income and assets (worth). As a result, only individuals and households whose income and assets fall below certain thresholds can receive the benefits and assistance offered by these programs. The higher the income and asset limits, the greater the number of persons benefitting from a given program. In other
words, the income and asset limits determine the coverage, and thus the effectiveness, of the social security system. Income and asset limits are therefore key components of the social security
system. Much has been discussed with respect to the way the income limit is determined in the social security system and if it is determined at an appropriate level. Considerably less has been talked about asset limits. This study explores the asset limits in place in the Korean social security system, and discusses the attendant issues and problems.


Ⅰ. Introduction 1
Ⅱ. Application of Means Tests 5
1. Eligibility & Benefit Amount Thresholds 7
2. Structure of Applying Eligibility Thresholds 8
3. Different Means Tests & the Typology of Social Security Programs 11
Ⅲ. Types of Social Security Programs 15
1. Distribution of Programs by Means Testing 17
2. Discussion 26
Ⅳ. Calculating Countable Income & Asset Limits 33
1. Calculating Countable Income for the NBLSP 35
2. Calculating Countable Income for Other Social Security Programs 37
Ⅴ. Major Problems in Applying Means Tests 43
Bibliography 49

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