The new system will be effective from next Wednesday, Shanghai Daily reported Friday citing the country's health and family planning agency.
China's one-child policy has cut the country's population by about 400 million since 1980. The government will ease the single-child policy as early as in the first quarter of 2014, allowing couples with either spouse from a single-child family to have two children.
Chinese traditionally turn to their children to support them in old age. If their only child dies, elderly parents find themselves in dire straits.
From next year, couples in cities who have lost their only child and in which the woman is 49 or older will get 340 yuan (about $56) per parent a month, said a statement on the official website of the National Health and Family Planning Commission (www.nhfpc.gov.cn).
Couples in rural areas, however, will get 170 yuan per parent a month. Parents in urban and rural areas whose only children become disabled will receive a monthly allowance of 270 yuan and 150 yuan, respectively, the statement said.
China launched the assistance system in 2008 to aid families whose only children had died or become disabled, with subsidies for each parent of no less than 100 yuan and 80 yuan, respectively, Wang Haidong, a senior commission official said.
It was increased in 2012 to 135 yuan for parents whose children had died and 110 yuan for those whose children had become disabled, the official said.
A survey conducted last year in 15 Chinese provincial areas revealed that despite assistance measures, bereaved families said they still suffered difficulties. About 80 percent worried about their elderly care, Wang said.
The assistance programme covered 671,000 people this year, including 407,000 whose only children died, the official added.
--IANS (Posted on 27-12-2013)