SINGAPORE - About 11,000 more people from low-income families will be able to benefit from two existing National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) voucher schemes this year, after the qualifying income cap was raised.
The U Stretch and U Care Back to School schemes are part of NTUC's U-Care Fund and help to offset the cost of living for its low-income members.
With the revision, NTUC members who have dependants in the same household and a gross monthly household income of not more than $3,000 can apply for the schemes. This is up from $2,800 previously.
For households where gross household income exceeds $3,000, members can apply if the per capita income does not exceed $750, up from the previous $725.
For NTUC members without dependants in the same household, the gross personal income ceiling has been adjusted to $1,450 from $1,400. Applications for both schemes open on June 15.
The revisions were announced yesterday by labour chief Chan Chun Sing in Pasir Ris during the first of five NTUC Family Recreation and Fun Carnivals to be held this year.
"If we were able to help four people with the U Stretch programme in the past, we now want to help five. For the Back to School programme, if we used to help six, we now want to help seven.
"We have revised upwards the criteria, so more families can qualify. It's our way of progressively helping more people with the funds that are available to us," Mr Chan told reporters.
The U Stretch scheme disburses vouchers for the redemption of necessities like groceries and over-the-counter medicine, at stores including those under supermarket chain FairPrice and pharmacy chain NTUC Unity.
Under the Back to School scheme, each qualifying child gets $125 in vouchers to offset the costs of school necessities such as books and stationery.
Last year, the two voucher schemes helped 50,000 in all.
Security officer Jeffrey Chiang, who is in his 50s and a single parent, said the schemes have helped him put his 15-year-old daughter through school.
Mr Yusri Yahya, 43, a warehouse assistant who was at the event with his wife and two primary school-age children, said the schemes have helped them.
"The revised criteria will help families who missed out on qualifying for the schemes by just a little bit," he added.
This article was first published on June 1, 2015.
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