In order to encourage isolated youth to leave their families and reintegrate into society, South Korea is paying them $500 each month. The new initiative intends to encourage teenagers who are homebound to go back to school, hunt for employment, and “restore their daily lives,” according to a statement released on Wednesday by the South Korean family ministry. According to the ministry’s news statement, the monthly grant is available to reclusive teenagers between the ages of nine and 24. According to the press release, the government will contribute $500 a month to the young person’s housing, food, and other living costs. A ministry spokesman told Insider in an email that eligible students will receive the money in the form of items or cash deposited into their bank accounts. If they are under the age of 18, the money will be transferred to their parents or grandparents’ accounts with their permission, according to the spokeswoman. They will also not be required to demonstrate that they are going outside in order to continue receiving the money, according to the spokeswoman. According to the ministry’s press statement, around 338,000 persons in Korea between the ages of 19 and 39 have become such “hermit-type loners,” citing 2022 statistics from the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs. These teenagers and young adults frequently isolate themselves at home for months or even years, avoiding school and work. It’s similar to the hikikomori epidemic in Japan, where the number of shut-in youngsters is estimated to be about one million by Japanese officials. According to the government’s news release, many of these isolated youngsters come from poorer families and began cutting themselves off from society at an early age.