【For individuals】Information about how to get financial assistance for people affected by coronavirus

Due to the spread of coronavirus, the state of emergency has been declared nationwide. Many people are being affected by coronavirus, and are worried about their lives and business.

This article introduces assistance programs and financial support to people who are affected by coronavirus.

Please note that all information is correct as of April 20, 2020, and subject to change.

The article is quite long, so please take a look at the table of the contents and read from where you are interested.

From the Government

Cash handouts

The government is planning to give ¥100,000 to anyone who is on the basic resident register, including foreign nationals who have legally resided in the country for more than three months.

Temporary welfare benefits for child-raising household (Hike in child allowance)

The government increases monthly child allowance by ¥10,000,  which is distributed for children of junior high school age or younger and the amount ranges from ¥10,000 to ¥15,000 per child. Child-rearing families who are receiving ¥5,000 as an exceptional measure are excluded from the ¥10,000 hike. Monthly payment is raised automatically, so application is not needed.

Housing support system for those who have lost or are losing their home

For those who have lost their home

Some local governments provide public housing to people who have lost their home due to dismissal resulting from coronavirus.

Hyogo prefecture and Kobe city offer their public housing to those who have lost their homes because of dismissals caused by coronavirus. Hyogo provides 300 rooms and Kobe offers 100 rooms.

Osaka prefecture also provides its public housing. If you live in other cities and have no place to live in, please check the website of the local government.

If you have no cash to rent a new room, you can borrow money for initial housing costs such as a deposit from Social Welfare Council, using a system called Housing Allowance of General Support Fund.

To borrow the money, you are required to use the system called Secure Housing Benefits as explained next.

Initial housing fee loan
Loan limit ¥400,000
Deferred period 6 months
Redemption period 10 years
Loan interest (Guarantor loan) Interest-free 
(Non-guarantor loan) 1.5% per year 
Guarantor Required in principal (Non-guarantor loan still available)

For those who are having problems with paying rent and losing their home

When you have a problem paying rent because your salary has decreased or you have lost your job due to coronavirus, you can use Secure Housing Benefits.

To use this system, you need to meet requirements regarding your salary. The details in Kobe city are as follows.

  Income limit Payment amount
Single household ¥84,000 ¥40,000
2-person household ¥130,000 ¥48,000
3-person household ¥172,000 ¥52,000
4-person household ¥214,000 ¥52,000
5-person household ¥255,000 ¥52,000
6-person household ¥297,000 ¥56,000

*Your income must be less than the total amount of income limit and rent (maximum of payment amount) to receive full payment. If you have more income than income limit, you will get partial payment and need to pay for the difference.

A benefit period is basically for 3 months, but can be extended for up to 9 months. 

If you want to use this system in Kobe city, you should go to the consultation counter at each ward office.

Grace of payment system

Deferral of payment of tax and social security premium

When you have a problem with paying income tax, local inhabitant tax, health insurance premium, national pension contribution, and so on, you can apply for payment deferral at tax office, local government, and pension office. If you meet some requirements, you can also apply for the exemption from payment of national pension contribution.

If you do not make payment of all above without applying for deferral, late fees will be charged.

Deferral of payment of utility bills

NTT group (NTT docomo, NTT East, NTT West), au, and softbank announced to extend the due date as of the end of February 2020 or later  (for au, Feburuary 25 or later) until the end of May. You need to contact customer center of each company.

Regarding gas and electricity, you can apply for a 30-day extension (from the due date) for the March, April, and May 2020 bill. However, you need to have received Emergency small-amount funds, which is explained later. 

If you do not make an application for deferral, it is possible that the supply could be cut off, so please do not forget to contact the company.

When you cannot repay housing loan or other loans

If you have a problem with repaying housing loan or business loan, you can talk to each financial institution about repayment plan first.

When you cannot make repayment of consumer finance loan or credit card payment, a debt workout might be a better option. After you consult with legal professionals, you can suspend repayment and creditors will not contact you.

Interest-free loan programs

・Emergency small-amount funds for decrease in income due to suspension of business

When your income has decreased due to suspension of business and you are having temporary difficulties with money, you can borrow Emergency small-amount funds from Social Welfare Council.

Foreigners are also eligible on condition they have a valid visa and residency in Japan.

Loan limit ¥200,000 for those who are affected by school closure or self-employed as exceptional measures

¥100,000 for other than those above

Deferred period 1 year
Redemption period 2 years
Loan interest Interest-free
Guarantor Not required

General support funds to maintain daily life

When / if you are having problems with making a living because of a decrease in income or dismissals caused by coronavirus, you can borrow General support funds from the Social Welfare Council.

Loan limit Maximum of ¥150,000 per month for single household

Maximum of ¥200,000 per month for 2-or-more-person household

Loan period Less than 3 month in principle
Deferred period 1 year
Redemption period 10 years
Loan interest Interest-free
Guarantor Not required 

It takes about one month to receive General support funds, so if you need cash immediately, you should apply for Emergency small-amount funds as well.

Program for getting a day off from work

Sickness allowance 

If you do not get paid while you stay home because you have a fever or you have caught the coronavirus, you can receive sickness allowance.

Payment of this benefit (2/3 of your daily salary)  begins on the fourth consecutive day off. The first three days are a waiting period.

Subsidies for school closure 

Subsidies for school closure (maximum of ¥8,330 per day) will be provided to companies that have given paid leave separate from annual paid leave to employees taking care of children attending elementary schools and special needs schools (through high school) that have been temporarily closed.

If you are asked by company to use your annual paid leave to take care of your children, you can suggest the subsidies.

Leave allowance

If your company suspends its business, you could be worried about your salary. In that case, it is possible that you can receive leave allowance.

In the event of an absence from work for reasons attributable to the company, you can get leave allowance equal to at least 60 percent of the worker's average wage. If the company apply for employment adjustment subsidies, it subsidizes 90% of leave allowances, so you can talk to your company.

Public livelihood assistance

After using all the programs above, and you still cannot make a living, then public livelihood assistance would be the last resort.

Foreigners can apply for it, but it would be difficult to receive it,  depending on your visa status.