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Data on the Number Of Comcare Assistance Recipients from 2017 to 2021 and Measures To Ensure Proper Classification of Comcare Assistance Recipients

Type: Parliamentary Questions

Topic(s): Financial Assistance & Social Support

Mr Murali Pillai asked the Minister for Social and Family Development with regard to the decrease in number of households and individuals receiving ComCare Long-Term Assistance (LTA) and a concurrent increase in the number of households receiving ComCare Short-to-Medium-Term-Assistance (SMTA), for the period 2017 to 2021 (a) how many households and individuals receiving SMTA have it renewed for a period of three years or more; (b) why have they not been considered for LTA; and (c) what steps have been or will be taken to ensure that recipients of ComCare assistance are properly classified.


The number of households assisted with ComCare Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance (SMTA) had averaged around 28,000 per year from FY2017 to FY2019. The number increased significantly in FY2020 to around 36,000 due to the economic impact of COVID-19 and the flexibilities exercised by Social Service Offices (SSOs) during the pandemic to provide ComCare support, before falling below 34,000 in FY2021. At the same time, the number of households assisted with ComCare Long-Term Assistance (LTA) has been decreasing from around4,400 in FY2017 to around 3,900 in FY2021. The decrease is possibly due to more Singaporeans continuing to earn income from employment and enhancements in support for seniors such as the introduction of theSilver Support Scheme in 2016.

2 We take this opportunity to explain how ComCare works. ComCare LTA is granted to a household in very specific circumstances. The recipient must be permanently unable to work and have little or no financial means and have little or no family support.

3 ComCare SMTA is provided to a household with little financial means. If the evidence does not show that the recipient is permanently unable to work, then the SSO does not grant ComCare LTA. This is because the circumstances of the household may change, which is why assistance is time-bound but is renewable.

4 It is therefore incorrect to presume that just because a household has been receiving ComCare SMTA for more than three years, they have been misclassified and ought to be placed on ComCare LTA.