8 May 2017
Mr Sitoh Yih Pin
MP for Potong Pasir SMC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) what is the number of Singaporeans below the age of 35 who are on social welfare in 2016; (b) whether this has been an increasing trend in the past ten years; and (c) what are the plans to deal with the underlying issues and problems for such group of persons.
The number of households with main applicant aged below 35 that received ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance (SMTA) increased from 4,016 in FY2012 to 5,644 in FY2015. As a proportion of households receiving ComCare SMTA, this dipped slightly from 19.5% in FY2012 to 19.1% in FY2015. More households had received assistance due to the revised income criteria. More families can also access assistance through the network of 24 Social Service Offices (SSOs) island wide.
Some younger applicants may be temporarily unemployed and searching for a job. Besides providing financial assistance, our SSOs partner Workforce Singapore (WSG) and the Employment and Employability Institute (e2i) to provide the client with employment assistance to improve his or her employability and secure stable employment.
Other families may have more complex needs, for example family issues such as divorce, health issues or incarceration. To address this, our SSOs work with community partners such as Family Service Centres to help these families strengthen their family ties and develop resilience. To support the needs of different couples, including young couples, MSF partners community agencies to provide marriage preparation and support programmes. MSF also works with other agencies to enhance preventive and upstream strategies for low-income groups, such as financial literacy, employment and housing support.
We are also expanding upstream efforts to support vulnerable families and their children. To this end, the Early Childhood Development Agency has piloted the KidSTART programme in July last year to enable children aged 6 and below from low-income and vulnerable families to have a good start in life.