The Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) will raise the income ceiling of some of its help schemes by up to $400 from next month, to benefit about 2,500 families in all.
This includes an estimated 1,000 families that did not qualify for aid previously but would do so now after the Chinese self-help group revised the eligibility criteria for these programmes.
Announcing the changes yesterday, Health Minister Gan Kim Yong, who is also CDAC chairman, said this will ensure that the council stays relevant to help its target groups. "This will also allow more individuals and families who are going through temporary hardship to be assisted," he added.
Needy households that earn a monthly household income of $1,900 and below can now benefit. The cut-off was $1,500 previously.
Families with a monthly household income of $2,100 and below, up from $1,700 before, can now apply for Workfare schemes, which provide grants for children's care, education and household needs.
And those who earn a monthly household income of $3,300 and below, up from $3,000 before, can now sign up for tuition and subsidies for enrichment programmes.
"The CDAC periodically reviews the income eligibility criteria for its programmes to ensure that it stays relevant to help our target groups," said Mr Gan. The council looked at the Key Household Income Trends by the Department of Statistics and criteria used by other government agencies for similar programmes and schemes to come up with the new ceilings. It last revised them in 2012.
The changes will help housewife Ching Hoi Chern, 36, and her family of four. Her husband, a 43-year-old driver, earns $3,300 a month, which is above the $3,000 income criterion for the CDAC's tuition programme. Madam Ching used to pay $240 for her son's weekly maths and English tuition classes. But from next month, her son, 11, will attend the CDAC tuition programme, which will cost just $24 per month for tuition in three subjects.
She also has an eight-year-old daughter.
"The fees we used to pay were quite high and there was no way we could afford tuition classes for three subjects before. Now we will even be able to save some money every month," she said.
This article was first published on June 21, 2014.
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