Assoc Prof Jamus Jerome Lim asked the Minister for Manpower (a) whether the Ministry monitors for fraud in applications made under the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme; (b) if so, what is the rate of fraudulent WIS claims perpetrated by firms; and (c) if not, whether there are plans to independently audit WIS firms to ensure that WIS top-ups are not granted to “ghost” employees that may be friends and family members of the business owner.
Dr Tan See Leng: The Workfare Income Supplement Scheme encourages lower-income Singaporeans to work and build up their CPF savings, by supplementing their income through cash payments and CPF contributions if they have a job and are working.
Workers do not need to apply for the scheme. For employees, eligibility is assessed automatically based on the quantum of CPF contributions made by the employers for their employees. For self-employed persons, eligibility is assessed based on their net trade income declared to IRAS.
MOM makes use of data analytics to identify and detect unusual patterns in hiring practices. Suspicious companies are flagged out for on-site inspection to ascertain whether the suspected phantom workers are employed by the company. Similarly, IRAS performs audits on the income declared by self-employed persons to detect irregularities in the income information reported.
Where there is suggestion of fraudulent intent, MOM and CPF Board will surface these cases to the Singapore Police Force for further investigation. Over the last three years, the Singapore Police Force had found two cases related to Workfare Income Supplement to be fraudulent and CPF Board has since recovered all the disbursed Workfare monies.
MOM and CPF Board will continue to review our processes and step up our fraud detection capabilities to better identify risks and deter fraudulent cases related to Workfare.
Ministry of Manpower
4 October 2022