Public Assistance allowances up to keep pace with costs

From July, Singaporeans who are unable to work and support themselves will get more cash as part of their Public Assistance allowance.

A recipient living alone will get $500 per month from July, $50 more than currently. A two-person household will get $870 per month, up from the current $790.

These details were made public during the debate on the Ministry of Social and Family Development's budget yesterday.

"We are aware that the cost of living is high and our low-income households are struggling," Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin told the House.

The increase "is to keep pace with the cost of living", Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Faishal Ibrahim added.

Those on Public Assistance - also known as ComCare Long Term Assistance - are citizens who cannot work due to old age, illness or disability. They also have little or no means of income or family support.

About 3,800 households, many of them elderly, are expected to benefit from the cash allowance increase.

Apart from the cash allowance, Public Assistance includes assistance for recurring expenses such as medical consumables and household appliances, and free medical treatment at public hospitals and polyclinics.

One recipient is Madam Angela Goh, 90, who has no children and lives alone in a one-room rental flat in Ang Mo Kio. She is glad for the raise, saying it will go a long way in helping her to make ends meet.

"I'm happy about it. The $50 increment is enough since I'm alone and don't have to pay for anyone else," she added in Mandarin.

This article was first published on April 13, 2016.
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