Mr Gerald Giam Yean Song asked the Minister for Social and Family Development in view of the current rising costs which may lead to more Singaporeans applying for financial assistance, whether the Government is looking to streamline the means testing procedures for public assistance applications and renewals, including reducing the number of physical documents that need to be submitted and seamlessly pulling the necessary financial information from agencies upon obtaining the necessary permissions from the applicants.
1 Over the past few years, MSF has been working with government agencies to progressively reduce the administrative burden for Singaporeans in need applying for ComCare. We leverage backend data sharing arrangements, simplified referrals, and streamlined application processes to deliver more comprehensive, convenient and coordinated (3C) support. For example, if ComCare applicants provide their consent, the Social Service Offices (SSOs) will be able to pull relevant data backend from agencies such as Central Provident Fund Board (CPFB), Housing Development Board (HDB) and Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA). This minimises the submission of physical documents and reduces the need for repeated means-testing.
2 Since 2018, ComCare applicants have been able to access ten adjacent financial assistance schemes more easily, upon approval of their ComCare assistance. For example, eligible ComCare clients automatically qualify for MediFund assistance and the Higher Education Community Bursary for full-time ITE and Polytechnic students. There is no need to submit additional application forms and supporting documents, nor undergo repeated means-testing. For the remaining schemes, clients can submit their ComCare assistance letter in lieu of multiple supporting documents.
3 As announced at MSF’s Committee of Supply Debate 2022, we will be offering scheme bundles to further strengthen support for ComCare families, starting with a bundle for school-going children that covers Ministry of Education Financial Assistance Scheme (MOE FAS) and MSF Student Care Fee Assistance (SCFA). By end-June 2022, eligible ComCare families with children attending Government or Government-aided schools and MSF-registered Student Care Centres (SCCs) or Special Student Care Centres (SSCCs) will automatically qualify for MOE FAS and MSF SCFA. Families need not submit separate applications, and maximum SCFA subsidies will be provided for eligible children for a duration of 12 months.
4 In addition, Singaporeans in need will be able to apply for and renew their ComCare Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance online via the enhanced SupportGoWhere (SGW) portal by end-June 2022. The portal will tap on Myinfo to auto-populate relevant personal information, for greater convenience. Applicants can also submit supporting documents directly through the portal, instead of physical documents at the SSOs.
5 We will progressively expand the number of ComCare scheme bundles, and onboard more financial support schemes onto the SGW portal, to provide greater 3C support for those in need.