From big expectations to major disappointments, and now over to hope
The welfare ministry began detailed preparations on Thursday for a highly disputed basic pension bill that was approved by the National Assembly last week.
President Park had earlier pledged that ALL seniors over the age of 65 would receive around 195 U.S. dollars a month in pensions.
But the revised version will only allow those in the bottom 70 percent of the income bracket to receive an amount ranging from between 98 and 195 dollars based on other supplemental income.
"I like the basic pension plan because I think in respect to our economic growth rate, our welfare system is lagging behind."
While some believe it's fair that only low income seniors will benefit, others are discontent over the narrow guidelines that determine who qualifies as a recipient.
"We had big hopes in the election pledge, but after the revisions were made, we were very disappointed. Just because we own a house, we are not able to receive the basic pension."
Kim Sang-woon and his wife have no income.
There are doubts about whether the new pension plan will help much, as experts say Korea's pension is still too low compared to other developed countries.
"Korea has the highest poverty rate among the elderly out of OECD nations and its population is aging at a rapid pace as well."
"In 2050, the elderly will make up 40 percent of the entire population. If 14 to 15 million seniors are paid such a low pension, most of them will live in poverty as society will not be able to support them."
Some sociologists expect that sooner or later, the public will demand that pensions increase.
However, the original plan was revised because of the strain it would have posed on the state's finances.
For that reason, many believe the basic pension plan as it is now is the best possible option.
Kwon Soa, Arirang News.