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Review of Distribution of Support Grants Based on Per Capita Income

Type: Parliamentary Questions

Topic(s): Financial Assistance & Social Support


Mr Sharael Taha
MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC

Question

To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development whether the Ministry is reviewing its eligibility criteria for distributing support grants especially on the use of per capita income of occupants living in a particular address.

Answer

1          The fundamental objective of various financial support grants is to provide support to Singapore residents who require either temporary assistance due to loss of income or longer-term assistance as they are unable to seek employment due to reasons such as medical illness or family circumstances. These grants are therefore intended for applicants who do not have sufficient savings, assets or income to meet their basic needs.

2          In general, measures such as household per capita income (PCI), gross household income and annual value of property are useful proxies of a household’s financial circumstances, and ability to tide through challenging periods. For large households with higher expenses, PCI is often more meaningful. Applicants with higher PCI are typically more resilient financially and better able to weather financial or employment shocks.

3          Thus, Household Income or PCI are often used as eligibility criteria for assistance schemes such as ComCare and the COVID-19 Support Grant (CSG), which is intended to help employees in lower- to middle-income households who suffered job loss or salary loss.

4          MSF regularly reviews the eligibility criteria of our assistance schemes to ensure that their objectives are being met, and that they meet the needs of target groups. Flexibility is also exercised on a case by case basis when applying the eligibility criteria.

5          Recognising the unprecedented and unexpected nature of the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has also implemented other schemes that are not subjected to means testing such as cash payouts and Passion Card top-ups for all Singaporeans, and the Jobs Support Scheme.