72,000 needy Singaporeans and families got ComCare assistance in 2013

(From left) Sheril Aidil Mohammad Najib with her sisters Sri Syawallya, Sultan Iskandar Shah and Sharmeen who received the CCC ComCare Fund Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru. More than $102 million of social assistance payments was given to 72,000 needy
(From left) Sheril Aidil Mohammad Najib with her sisters Sri Syawallya, Sultan Iskandar Shah and Sharmeen who received the CCC ComCare Fund Tanjong Pagar-Tiong Bahru. More than $102 million of social assistance payments was given to 72,000 needy Singaporeans and their families in the last financial year, ending March. -- PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE

SINGAPORE - More than $102 million of social assistance payments was given to 72,000 needy Singaporeans and their families in the last financial year, ending March.

The money came from the ComCare Endowment Fund, which was set up by the Government in 2005. ComCare funds are mainly distributed in the form of long-term help for poor elderly people, temporary help for those facing crises, and subsidies for children from low-income families.

About $56 million was given to those who needed short to medium term assistance, an increase of 33 per cent from the year before. This amount went to about 26,000 households, an increase of 19 per cent. The increases are due to changes made in the last financial year to widen the coverage of support to more Singaporeans, said the Ministry of Social and Family Development in a statement on Wednesday.

Since July last year, for instance, 14 social service offices - in charge of disbursing national financial aid schemes - have been set up, and nine more offices will be opened by June next year.

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said: "The new network of social service offices in the hearts of our HDB estates enables citizens in need to have easier and quicker access to social assistance."

He said his ministry will continue to improve the delivery of social services to build a stronger social safety net.