Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim asked the Minister for Social and Family Development in light of rising inflation for daily necessities, whether there will be a reassessment by the Social Service Offices of the amount of ComCare payouts and a more expeditious review of the eligibility criteria.
Mr Masagos Zulkifli B M M: ComCare provides assistance to low-income households for their basic living expenses. The income eligibility criterion for ComCare is not a hard threshold to qualify for assistance. Our Social Service Offices (SSOs) assess applicants’ needs and do exercise flexibility when providing financial assistance.
ComCare Short-to-Medium Term (SMTA) assistance quantum is customised to the needs of different age groups and archetypes. MSF reviews the ComCare assistance quantum every two to three years, taking into account household expenditure data for daily living expenses, including projected inflation. We also consult domain experts in areas such as nutrition and transport, and obtain views from community stakeholders such as social workers and low-income families. The next review is already underway, and we expect to complete this by the middle of this year.
In the meantime, we are taking other pro-active steps to ensure adequate financial assistance for low-income households, in view of recent costs of living concerns. The Minister for Finance and Second Minister for Trade and Industry will be making a joint Ministerial Statement on inflation and business costs. They will reiterate the support measures announced at the recent Budget, and share the immediate steps that Government will take to help Singaporeans cope with inflationary pressures. MSF has been monitoring the impact of inflation on low-income households and individuals and will be implementing measures to provide more financial support for ComCare recipients who require it, and administrative flexibilities to provide greater stability for eligible beneficiaries. MSF will announce the details of these measures after the joint Ministerial Statement.
These measures will provide low-income households with more time and better support to stabilise their circumstances. We will review these measures to calibrate the level of support in line with the evolving global and domestic economic situation.
The community continues to play an important role in partnering the Government to help those in need. If anyone encounters a neighbour, friend or family member who needs support, I urge them to call the ComCare hotline at 1800-222-0000, or refer them to the nearest SSO or Family Service Centre for assistance.
Ministry of Social and Family Development
4 April 2022