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Singapore Government

Public Assistance (PA) Scheme Enhanced to Provide Greater and More Flexible Help for the Needy

Public Assistance (PA) Scheme Enhanced to Provide Greater and More Flexible Help for the Needy

Published On
01 Mar 2013

From 1 April 2013, Public Assistance (PA) recipients can look forward to   a higher level of assistance that is flexible and customised to their needs. The Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) will enhance the PA scheme by providing additional tiers of assistance, while at the same time increasing the cash assistance rates in the primary tier.

Additional Tiers of Assistance
The current PA scheme provides recipients with a uniform cash allowance for different household sizes. While the allowance meets the needs of the majority of PA households, there is a small but increasing group who have special needs and therefore struggle with the additional costs of essential items.

To better support this group, on top of the primary tier of cash assistance, MSF will introduce two additional tiers of assistance in the PA scheme to defray these expenses. These tiers will allow greater and more flexible help to the needy with special or once-off needs. For example, additional assistance will be provided to those who need healthcare and hygiene consumables such as adult diapers and nutritional milk supplements, or those who need once-off purchase or replacement of equipment such as a commode. We expect one-third of existing PA households to benefit from the additional tiers of assistance.

Higher Rates of Primary Cash Assistance
The rate for the primary tier of cash assistance for all PA households will be increased. The increase will range from $50 per month for a 1-person PA household to $130 per month for a 4-person PA household. PA households with dependent children will continue to receive additional cash assistance. This revision is part of the regular review of basic cash assistance rates to ensure that they are adequate to meet the needs of PA households. 

Details of the enhancements can be found in Annex A. PA households will continue to enjoy free medical treatment in polyclinics and government/ restructured hospitals and free or highly subsidised access to a wide range of social services such as home help and day activity centres funded by the government. In addition, PA recipients will continue to benefit from the supplementary assistance provided by community-based agencies e.g. festive hampers, cash gifts and food rations.

1 March 2013


PUBLIC ASSISTANCE SCHEME (with effect from 1 April 2013)

The Public Assistance scheme offers long-term assistance to needy Singapore Citizens and Permanent Residents (PRs).  PA recipients are unable to work due to old age, illness, disability or unfavourable family circumstances, and often have little or no means of income and family support. As at 31 Dec 2012, there are 3,047 households benefitting from this scheme.

Eligibility Criteria

·         Applicant must be a Singapore citizen or Singapore Permanent Resident


·         Applicant is unable to work due to old age, illness or disability


·         Applicant has no/little means of income and little or no family support


·         Since 2008, needy elderly persons whose children are needy themselves and unable to support their parents, may apply for PA. The children must be supporting their own families and each have household income $1,700 or below


·         Since 2010, elderly persons on CPF payouts are eligible for PA and this eligibility has been subsequently extended to those receiving Pension, Eldershield and Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS) in 2012. Their payouts should be lower than PA rates and all other criteria must be met.


Assistance Rendered

Tiers of Assistance

·         Under the Primary tier of assistance, a monthly cash grant is provided to all PA households to support their daily living expenses. The Public Assistance rates will range from $450 for a single person household to $1,180 for a household of four persons.


·         Under the Secondary and Discretionary tiers, greater help will be rendered to those with additional essential needs. This includes healthcare/hygiene consumables for elderly with special needs e.g. adult diapers, stoma bags, diabetic consumables and milk supplements.


·         Families with children will also receive additional monthly assistance of $150 per child to cater for a school-going child’s expenses or a toddler/infant’s additional nutritional and hygiene needs.




PA Tiered Assistance Framework

Tiers of Assistance

Forms of






Cash allowance

Daily living expenses (e.g. food, rental, utilities, transport, and communications)




Recurring essentials

Adult diapers, stoma bags, diabetic consumables, dietary supplements




Once-off/ varied needs

Commode, oxygen respirator and essential household appliances


Once Off



PA Cash Allowance Rates (Primary Tier)

Household Type

Current Rates

Revised Rates wef 1 Apr 13

Change ($)



4 Persons




3 Persons




2 Persons




1 Person




Additional assistance for children

Per child

$150 additional

$150 additional




Free Medical

·         PA recipients also receive free medical treatment in polyclinics and government/restructured hospitals.


Supplementary Community Support

·         Those on PA scheme also receive free or highly subsidised access to a wide range of social services, such as home help and day activity centres funded by the government. For example, most of our single elderly PA recipients actively participate in the activities organised by the neighbourhood Senior Activity Centres such as Sunlove Neighbourhood Link, @27 Family Service Centre and THK SAC @ Macpherson.


·         This is in addition to supplementary assistance in cash and kind from community-based agencies e.g. Lee Foundation, TzuChi Foundation and Buddha of Medicine Welfare Society. For example, the CDCs work very closely with The Lions Befrienders to provide PA elderly with befriending services; Home Help Service and SWAMI Home for their warm meal delivery services; as well as the Community Clubs and Citizen Consultative Committees for their meal coupons, festive hamper and cash gifts.

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