More low-wage union workers to benefit from revised criteria to two voucher schemes

Labour chief Chan Chun Sing announced at a carnival in Pasir Ris on Sunday that the NTUC will be adjusting income caps for two of its voucher schemes so as to benefit more of its members. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Labour chief Chan Chun Sing announced at a carnival in Pasir Ris on Sunday that the NTUC will be adjusting income caps for two of its voucher schemes so as to benefit more of its members. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Labour chief Chan Chun Sing announced at a carnival in Pasir Ris on Sunday that the NTUC will be adjusting income caps for two of its voucher schemes so as to benefit more of its members. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Labour chief Chan Chun Sing announced at a carnival in Pasir Ris on Sunday that the NTUC will be adjusting income caps for two of its voucher schemes so as to benefit more of its members. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Labour chief Chan Chun Sing announced at a carnival in Pasir Ris on Sunday that the NTUC will be adjusting income caps for two of its voucher schemes so as to benefit more of its members. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN
Labour chief Chan Chun Sing announced at a carnival in Pasir Ris on Sunday that the NTUC will be adjusting income caps for two of its voucher schemes so as to benefit more of its members. -- ST PHOTO: AUDREY TAN

SINGAPORE - The criteria for two schemes that help beneficiaries stretch their dollar have been revised, the National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) announced on Sunday.

With the revision, the income ceiling for the two voucher schemes under its U-Care Fund - U Stretch and Back to School - has been increased.

For NTUC members with dependants in the same household, the maximum gross household income has been raised from $2,800 to $3,000. This translates to a per capita income of about $750 - up from the $725 previously.

For members without dependants in the same household, the gross personal income ceiling has been adjusted to $1,450 - up from the $1,400 previously.

It is a move that is expected to reach out to about 11,000 more low-income members. In 2014, both voucher schemes helped 50,000.

Applications for both schemes open on June 15.

Labour chief Chan Chun Sing made these announcements on the sidelines of NTUC's Family Recreation and Fun Carnival at Pasir Ris. It is the first of five planned carnivals in 2015. The others will be held on June 14, July 5, Nov 22 and Dec 20.

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The Labour Movement's U Stretch scheme disburses vouchers for the redemption of basic necessities like groceries and over-the-counter medicine, at places including supermarket NTUC FairPrice and pharmacy NTUC Unity.

Eligible members with dependants receive $100 worth of vouchers, while those with no dependants receive $50.

Under its Back to School scheme, each qualifying child gets $125 in vouchers to offset the costs of school necessities.

Mr Zainal Sapari, NTUC's assistant secretary-general and director of its Care and Share department, said: "It is important that the assistance provided by the labour movement towards its low-income members remain relevant and that we are able to reach out to as many of them as possible... With the higher income criteria for the voucher programmes, it would allow us to extend help to more families so that they can all cope a little better with the help of the vouchers."

An NTUC U-Care Fund was also launched at D'Marquee at Downtown East on Sunday.

The newly-launched fund is part of the labour movement's efforts to raise funds that would go towards helping its low-income members. It plans to raise $10.5 million in 2015.

audreyt@sph.com.sg