Parliament: Panel has approved 642 appeals to join Pioneer Generation group

SINGAPORE - More than 600 seniors who have appealed to be eligible for Pioneer Generation benefits have had their requests approved, said Senior Minister of State for Finance Josephine Teo on Tuesday.

As of Dec 31 last year, the panel reviewing these appeals had evaluated about 2,480 appeals and approved 642 of them, she said in Parliament. About 2,900 appeals have been received in all.

Mrs Teo was responding to a question from Mr Seng Han Thong (Ang Mo Kio GRC), who had asked how many appeals had been received and approved, and on what grounds.

The panel only considered appeals relating to the criteria of citizenship, said Mrs Teo.

To be eligible for the $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package, which offers help with healthcare bills, seniors must have been born in 1949 or earlier, and have become Singapore citizens on or before Dec 31, 1986.

Mrs Teo said that the panel takes into consideration whether the applicant obtained Singapore citizenship shortly after 1986.

In addition, it looks at factors such as whether he or she had been in Singapore since the early years of independence, contributed to Singapore's society, and demonstrated clear efforts to sink roots in Singapore, she added.

But the panel will not approve appeals from seniors who were born after 1949, Mrs Teo added.

She said: "Whatever the age set, there will always be those who marginally fall short of it. It would therefore not be feasible or fair to allow age-related appeals without extending the new age criterion to all Singaporeans."