photo by sean
The spread of COVID-19, which had started in December last year, swept the world just like that and yet has not ended. In Japan, the national government had declared the state of emergency in April and cancelled it lately. No severe measure such as lock down was enforced in Japan, though, the Japanese economy still has suffered a huge blow. As a result, the number of people who had a huge declined in income is soaring and many of them, including international students and workers, have fallen into hard living. In such an emergency situation, how do we deal with financial difficulties? This column will introduce one of countermeasures to poverty “Housing Security Benefit”.
About Housing Security Benefit
Housing Security Benefit is one of self-reliance supports for those in poverty due to leaving their jobs conducted by the national government: the government provides those who have lost or may lose their current housing with allowance equivalent to their rents. Practically, a local government pay their rent directly to their landlords. This system, which had been introduced in April 2015, was amended partially in order to ease conditions, following this COVID-19 crisis.
- Eligible person: a person who had lost or may lose his/her current housing due to poverty caused by leaving a job
- Duration: 3 months
- Place for application: local government office
Conditions of Housing Security Benefit
You are required to meet the following conditions to receive Housing Security Benefit.
- At the time of application, it is within 2 years since you leave or terminate a job. Or, you are in a similar situation as leaving or terminating a job (the second condition was added by the amendment in April 2020).
- You are the main person who financially supported the household at the time you left or terminate a job.
- You have an intention to work with an appropriate ability and are actively seeking a job. →This condition is waved until further notice, considering the effect of the spread of COVID-19.
- You have lost or may lose your current housing due to an income decrease.
- Total monthly income of you and your family members or relatives living within the same household does not exceed the amount designated by a local government.
- The total amount of savings of you and your family members or relatives living within the same household does not exceed the amount designated by a local government.
- You or any of your family members or relatives living within the same household is not receiving job-training allowance which is one of employment measures by the national government, or similar housing security benefit for unemployed persons provided by the local government.
- You or any of your family members or relatives living within the same household is not a “crime group member” as defined by law.
*Example of “the amount designated by a local government” in no.5 (Tokyo).
Single-person household: \84,000 plus an amount equivalent to rent (up to \53,700).
2-person household: \130,000 plus an amount equivalent to rent (up to \64,000).
3-person household: \172,000 plus an amount equivalent to rent (up to \69,800).
*Example of “the amount designated by a local government” in no.6 (Tokyo).
Single-person household: \504,000; 2-person household: \780,000; 3-person household: \1,000,000
Application procedures and required documents
Application procedures are slightly different city to city, but generally follow the below steps. It is important to inquire if you are eligible and what documents you need to prepare before applying. In addition, many local governments are accepting applications only by mail at the moment in order to control the spread of COVID-19, therefore, it is recommended to inquire how to make an application.
- Inquire a local government office for eligibility, or check their website.
- If eligible, download the application form from the website, or request to send the form by mail.
- Request your real estate agent or person who manage the rental property to fill in the “notification of details on the rental housing”.
- Prepare all the required documents and post them to the local government office.
- Notify your real estate agent or person who manage the rental property that you have applied to Housing Security Benefit.
- The local government will assess your application and situation and send you a benefit payment determination notice/disqualification notice. Once you are permitted to receive the benefit, the local government will start paying your rent directly to your landlord.
*The benefit may not cover the whole amount of your rent even though the local government determined to provide you the benefit. The benefit may cover some part of your rent depending on your financial situation.
- Application form
- Housing Security Benefit application check list
- Copy of valid identification (driver license, my number card, passport, health insurance card, residence registry, residence card, etc.)
- Proof of leaving a job or income decrease (if you left a job: certificate of the unemployed to take an insurance, employment insurance card, certificate of termination of business, etc.; if you had an income decrease: roaster made by your employer, cancellation notice of contracts or other documents to prove an income decrease)
- Proof of income of all members in your household of the month including the day your application is made (copy of pay slip, remuneration certificate, bank book, pension book, welfare certificate, etc.)
- Proof of all assets of all members in your household (bank book and others)
- Documents regarding the rental housing (notification of details on the rental housing and copy of tenancy agreement)
*You may be required to submit documents other than one listed above when the local government decided necessary.
The coronavirus pandemic sent the world economy into the bottom within just a few months. The situation has not ended yet, therefore there are many people who are living in Japan with uncertainty. There also are people who are not able to return to their countries even though they are about to be forced to leave their housings. If you have a difficulty to pay your rent and may have to leave your home, consult your local government. You may be eligible to receive Housing Security benefit for 3 months as well as a self-independence consultation.