BEIJING, Feb. 10 (Xinhua) -- China will increase financial aid to elderly citizens whose only child has died or become disabled, an official with the National Health and Family Planning Commission (NHFPC) said Monday.
Effective from the beginning of 2014, parents in urban areas who have lost their only son or daughter will be provided with 340 yuan (56.1 U.S. dollars) each month while families living in rural regions will receive 170 yuan, said NHFPC spokesman Yao Hongwen at a news conference.
Parents in urban and rural areas whose only children have become disabled will receive monthly allowances of 270 yuan and 150 yuan, respectively, Yao said.
Many bereaved families in China have suffered from difficulties in livelihood, elder care and medical services, as well as mental suffering, after losing their only child.
The elder care problem has surfaced since the 1980s after China implemented the one-child policy to control its population.
It is estimated that the one-child policy has so far prevented around 400 million people from being added to China's population, which stands at 1.34 billion today.
China has relaxed the strict family planning policy by allowing couples to have two children if one of the parents is an only child, Yao said, adding that the provinces of Zhejiang, Jiangxi and Anhui took the lead to implement the new rule at the beginning of the year.