S$130m in ComCare support given to needy households in FY2016

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SINGAPORE: The Government’s ComCare schemes disbursed a total of S$130 million to about 83,000 beneficiaries in the last financial year, said the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) on Friday (Dec 8).

This is comparable to what was given out in FY2015.

In general, the number of beneficiary households over the past five years has increased, said MSF in a media release. It added that this is in line with the “enhanced coverage of ComCare assistance” and the roll-out of the Social Service Office network between 2013 and 2015.

ComCare payouts are disbursed mainly through three schemes – Long-Term Assistance, Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance and Student Care Fee Assistance.

The majority of households on ComCare received short- to medium-term assistance. There were 28,400 such beneficiaries in FY2016, a 38 per cent increase from 20,500 in FY2012.

However, compared to FY2015, there was a slight dip in the number of households under short- to medium-term assistance. “The number of households may have stabilised and MSF will continue to monitor this trend,” said the ministry.

There was a slight dip in the number of people who needed short- to medium-term assistance in 2016. (Image: MSF)

With the exception of FY2015, MSF said the rise in beneficiaries of short- to medium-term assistance over the years could be the due to the expanded eligibility criteria.

In 2014, it was extended to families with a maximum gross household income of S$1,900, up from S$1,700 previously. The cap on income per household member was also increased from S$550 to S$650.

There were also 24 Social Service Offices across Singapore by 2015, providing “more accessible and coordinated social assistance to Singaporeans in need”, the ministry added.

Said Social and Family Development Minister Desmond Lee: “Even as the Government has stepped up to help those in need, not just through ComCare but also through our many other layers of assistance, these individuals and their households also need greater support from their families and the community.

“I hope such family and community support will rise, as we work together to foster a more caring and gracious society.”

Out of the S$130 million disbursed in FY2016, S$57.5 million was funded by the ComCare Fund’s interest income. The remainder was covered by MSF’s budget, according to ComCare’s annual report.

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