1. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) released the ComCare Annual Report FY2020 and the ComCare Trends Report FY2016-2020 today. MSF disbursed $236 million in ComCare assistance in FY2020, a 56% increase from FY2019’s $151 million. ComCare assisted some 96,000 beneficiaries in FY2020, a 22% increase from FY2019. The increase was largely due to 35,700 households receiving ComCare Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance (SMTA) in FY2020, a 24% increase over FY2019.
More supported by ComCare
Increased number of ComCare beneficiaries in FY2020
2. Like other nations, Singapore had to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Jobs were lost and livelihoods were affected by the economic impact of the virus. In addition to MSF’s ComCare schemes, the Government has put in place support measures, including broad-based help to families, such as the Solidarity Payment and Solidarity Utilities Credit, as well as targeted support schemes like the Job Support Scheme, Temporary Relief Fund, Self-Employed Persons Income Relief Scheme (SIRS), COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG), COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG), and COVID-19 Recovery Grant - Temporary (CRG-T).
3. Reflecting the impact of the pandemic, the number of unique individuals assisted by ComCare increased by about 22% between FY2019 and FY2020, to around 96,000. This was mainly driven by the increase in SMTA beneficiaries.
Short-to-Medium Term Assistance (SMTA)
4. The number of households assisted by SMTA increased by about 24%, to about 35,700 households in FY2020. The quantum of ComCare assistance disbursed under SMTA increased by about 77%, to about $183 million. This reflected the economic impact of COVID-19 and the flexibility exercised by the Social Service Offices (SSOs) during the pandemic to provide ComCare support. For instance, MSF automatically extended the duration of support of existing ComCare beneficiaries whose assistance ended between May and October 2020 by a further six months, to provide them with a longer runway to stabilise their circumstances. Most new ComCare beneficiaries assisted between April and December 2020 received at least six months of assistance.
Student Care Fee Assistance (SCFA)
5. The number of children receiving SCFA increased by about 3%, to about 10,000 in FY2020. This increase is due to the broadening of SCFA’s income eligibility in July 2020, and schools’ efforts to proactively enrol children who may benefit from after-school care in school-based student care centres.
Long-Term Assistance (LTA)
6. The number of households assisted by LTA decreased by about 2%, to about 4,100 in FY2020.
Interim Assistance (IA)
7. The number of individuals assisted by Interim Assistance Schemes increased by about 21%, to about 9,400 in FY2020. Similar to the increase in SMTA numbers, this is attributable to the impact of COVID-19. Interim Assistance is disbursed through community touchpoints to provide quick financial assistance to individuals and families with urgent needs.
8. Commenting on the ComCare Trends report and the Annual Report, Minister for Social and Family Development and Second Minister for Health Mr Masagos Zulkifli said, “The Government is committed to creating an uplifting society, where all Singaporeans have opportunities to do well for themselves and their families. Many families and individuals have been affected by the social and economic repercussions of the on-going COVID-19 pandemic, which is why we have made it easier for them to access financial support and bounce back stronger. The community also plays an important role in this effort, and we hope that more people and organisations will step up to partner us in helping those in need.”
Reaching out to the low-income
9. MSF actively reaches out to families who may need additional support to ensure they are aware and able to access ComCare support. This includes working with the SG Cares Community Network to reach out to 50,000 households staying in rental housing in FY2020. MSF continues to work closely with social service agencies and other community partners, to provide more comprehensive, convenient and coordinated help to better support individuals and families in need. MSF will also be scaling up the ComLink initiative, which brings together partners from the people, private and public sectors, to provide Comprehensive, Convenient and Coordinated (3C) support to families with children living in rental housing. It will be extended nation-wide to 21 towns over the next two years, and is expected to benefit around 14,000 families.
10. If anyone encounters a neighbour, friend or family member who needs support, they can call the ComCare hotline at 1800-222-0000 or refer them to the nearest Social Service Office or Family Service Centre for assistance.
Annex A: Supplementary Information