1949 stays as cut-off for Pioneer Package

1949 stays as cut-off for Pioneer Package

The panel looking into appeals by seniors to be part of the Pioneer Generation will not be accepting those born after 1949.

This is because "for any age criterion, there will be those who marginally fall short" of it, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said yesterday.

"It was not feasible or fair to allow age-related appeals without extending the new age criterion to all Singaporeans," he said.

To be recognised as pioneers and qualify for benefits under the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package, Singaporeans must be 65 or older this year and must have become a citizen before 1987.

While the panel will not bend on the age cut-off, it will consider on a case-by-case basis those who did not obtain citizenship before 1987.

Factors it will be looking at include whether the person had been in Singapore in the early years of independence and had contributed to society, said Mr Tharman, in a written reply to Ms Lee Li Lian (Punggol East). She had asked for an update on seniors who had missed out on qualifying to be a pioneer.

As of last month, more than 1,200 people had appealed to be included in the Pioneer Generation Package since applications opened in April. About half of them did not meet the age requirement.

Mr Tharman said another reason the panel will not be accepting appeals based on age is that there is already a range of health-care benefits open to all older Singaporeans, such as MediShield Life premium subsidies.

Also, Singaporeans aged 55 and above who are not part of the Pioneer Generation are already slated to receive Medisave top-ups for the next five years.

Ms Lee also asked about the procedures in place for appeals.

The panel verifies supporting information and documents for each case, said Mr Tharman. Those appealing will be contacted for verification if necessary.

This article was first published on September 9, 2014.
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