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Welfare at center of attention

A FINANCIAL assessment center for residents was set up in the city yesterday.

The center will provide property assessments to governmental departments, such as civil affairs, tax and accumulation-fund authorities, as an aid to issuing social welfare for the needy, the Ministry of Civil Affairs of China said in Shanghai.

The center will investigate those who apply for subsidies, looking at funds, shares, real estate and tax paid to accurately assess their financial situation.

The assessment system will also provide data for policy making concerning the needy. According to the Shanghai Civil Affairs Bureau, the system will cover more than 1.2 million families a year, on five projects including medical care, educational assistance and low-rental housing.

"We will ensure social-welfare resources are distributed to the right people," said Luo Pingfei, deputy minister of civil affairs.

Shanghai became the first city in the nation to set up an economic-assessment system, officials said. The system has been gradually launched in 86 downtown residential areas during the past two years. The center will also act as checkpoint for people's personal credit ratings.

The system will investigate economic material provided by candidates and carry out random checks.

Up to the end of June, the system found more than 3,220 families that applied for low-rent housing were in much better financial situations than claimed, saving more than 24 million yuan (US$3.51 million) for the government, according to the bureau.

Bureau officials also said they found some people in the city turning up to claim basic living allowances and driving expensive vehicles.

Last week in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province, six people were found to have applied for housing assistance with bogus financial information. Their benefits were quickly canceled.


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