Everyday Policy Studies No. en26

Special Fixed-Sum Cash Benefits

 The “Emergency Economic Measures to Cope with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)”, the supplementary budget for fiscal year 2020, which includes Special Fixed-Sum Cash Benefits, was established on April 30, 2020. The special fixed-sum cash benefit was decided by the Cabinet on April 20, as follows. “With respect and thankfulness to the people who are engaged in various fields throughout the country including the healthcare field, we must consolidate, unite, and overcome the national crisis of fighting this invisible enemy. For this reason, while paying attention to the prevention of the spread of the disease, the Government will promptly and appropriately support households with a simple mechanism, and uniformly pay out 100,000 yen per person.” (See Note 1), and the recipients of the benefit are those listed in the Basic Resident Register on the recording date (April 27, 2020) (including foreign residents not having Japanese nationality). The beneficiary is the head of the household to which the person belongs.
 The special fixed-sum cash benefit is a modification of the 300,000 yen benefit for households with reduced revenues included under the “Emergency Economic Measures to Cope with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)”, decided by the Cabinet on April 7. While the 300,000 yen benefit to households with reduced revenue is a support measure for households that are limited to households in need, the special fixed-sum cash benefit is a support measure for households that do not have such a limitation. The difference between the two benefits is the difference between the principles of selectivism and universalism.
Under the current child allowance system, there is in principle an income cap according to the number of dependent relatives, etc., but even if the income cap is exceeded, a monthly amount of 5,000 yen will be paid per child as Special Interim Allowances (See Note 2). This is a policy that is based on selectivism but also has universalism.
Support measures for households in the Emergency Economic Measures to Cope with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) are based on the universalist policy of special fixed-sum cash benefits, but may require selective policies with additional benefits targeting households who are truly in need as a result of the outbreak of COVID-19. Therefore, just as the 300,000-yen benefit for households with reduced revenues caused a major issue with how to identify and demarcate households with reduced revenues, it is important to establish a clear and rational demarcation standard in selective policies.

(Note 1) Cabinet Office, Japan, “Emergency Economic Measures to Cope with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)~Thoroughly secure people’s lives and moves toward economic revitalization~” p.30, April 20, 2020 https://www5.cao.go.jp/keizai1/keizaitaisaku/2020/20200420_economic_measures_all.pdf

(Note 2) Cabinet Office, Japan, “The Outline of the Act for Amending Part of the Child Allowance Act”, (Date of Enforcement, April 1, 2012),
https://www8.cao.go.jp/shoushi/jidouteate/pdf/gaiyou_kaisei-en.pdf
Furthermore, according to the “Emergency Economic Measures to Cope with the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)”, support to households with children, a temporary special benefit of an additional 10,000 yen per applicable child, will be paid to households receiving (regular) Child Allowance.

This essay is the English version of No. 143, May 5, 2020 on the Japanese website, but the notes and URLs have been changed. The final date of access to the URLs is January 2, 2021.

(Author: Akira Yokoyama)

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