Public Assistance scheme to go beyond cash payouts

The Government is changing the way help is delivered to the most needy in Singapore by going beyond disbursing cash handouts.

The Public Assistance scheme will be restructured to meet the other needs of the poor.

For example, they will have their healthcare and hygiene consumables such as adult diapers or nutritional milk supplements paid for on top of their monthly cash handouts. Transport services for those who are less mobile will also be covered.

The latest move aims to make the scheme more flexible so as to help those with special needs who struggle to pay for these items.

"While the allowance meets the needs of the majority of PA households, there is a small but increasing group who have special needs and therefore struggle with the additional costs of essential items," said Acting Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing as he announced changes to the scheme on Friday.

The scheme will also be expanded to cover more families and give higher payouts.

Monthly payouts for individuals is set to go up from $400 to $450 a month, while a family of four will get $1,180, up from $1,050.

More families will also benefit from the scheme as the household income cap will be raised from $1,500 to $1,700 or an equivalent per capita income cap of $550.

Some 3,047 households are on the scheme, which gives monthly payouts to those who are unable to work and have no family support. One third of these recipients are likely to be able to claim for their expenses on consumables and transport.

On top of the regular cash handouts and claimable expenses, the scheme will also cover the one-time purchase of items such as commodes.