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An elderly man in his 80s who was being treated for burns to his body after self-immolating himself in an officetel in Mapo, Seoul, eventually died.
According to the community center, 83-year-old Kim Mo suffered from housing insecurity and living difficulties after her live-in partner of 15 years died in April last year.
The officetel where Mr. Kim lived belonged to the family of the deceased housemate, and Mr. Kim has been in arrears of the officetel's management fees for eight months since July last year.
Mr. Kim made efforts to self-rescue by reporting to the community center in September last year and receiving guidance on applying for basic living allowances, but he could not get out of the welfare blind spot.
An official from the community center explained, "The elderly did not apply for basic living allowances and were not included in the list of vulnerable people in blind spots issued by the Ministry of Health and Welfare, so the community center was not aware of the situation."
In order to prevent welfare blind spots, the government collects information on 4 types of crisis, such as power cuts and shortages, non-payment of health insurance premiums (more than 7 months), withdrawal or suspension of basic living allowances, and non-payment of condominium management fees.
However, since officetels are not included in condominiums such as apartments and villas, Mr. Kim's arrears of management fees could not be communicated to the relevant authorities.
Mr. Kim was also absent from the list of "central crisis targets," which corresponds to high-risk vulnerable groups, or the "total crisis information recipients' list," which is registered if any crisis information is applicable.
An official from the Ministry of Health and Welfare said, "Although the management fee for condominium housing is taken from the private sector such as apartment management offices, there is no system that integrates management fee information for officetels and townhouses that are not included in condominiums."
An official from the Ministry of Welfare said, "The measures against welfare blind spots announced in November last year included expanding information related to the discovery system as well as increasing private human safety nets such as 'honorary social welfare officials' and 'community security councils.'"