BUDGET 2016 - Shaping our future together: Supporting our workers

Relief cabby motivated 'to keep working'

Mr Nathan says the higher payouts from the Workfare Income Supplement scheme, announced in the Budget yesterday, will be a "morale booster".
Mr Nathan says the higher payouts from the Workfare Income Supplement scheme, announced in the Budget yesterday, will be a "morale booster".ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Relief taxi driver M. R. Nathan, 63, cannot work long hours because of his heart condition and joint pains, but needs the income to pay for his and his wife's medical bills.

He has been driving a taxi for a living since 2007.

Before that, he had worked in his father's trading business and was a PSA clerical worker.

He earns around $1,000 a month working six to eight hours a day. His wife makes about $500 a month from her job as a part-time nanny.

"We try to plan prudently so that we don't have to rely so much on our children because they have their own family commitments," said Mr Nathan. Now some extra help may be at hand.

 

The grandfather of three said his two older children are married, while the youngest is single and lives with him and his wife.

Being self-employed, Mr Nathan does not have an income when he cannot work. This happened last November, when he was in hospital for a ballooning procedure.

But the expenses do not take a break. Every three months, he spends around $1,000 on his medication. His wife, who is 56, has diabetes and a knee problem.

The bulk of the household income goes towards paying off the mortgage on their five-room Housing Board flat in Sengkang.

He has some help with the medical expenses from his children, and from payouts from the Workfare Income Supplement scheme, which he gets because he declares his income and contributes to his Medisave account.

The higher payouts under the scheme, announced in the Budget yesterday, will be a "morale booster", said Mr Nathan.

"It's an incentive for me to keep working," he said.

"I'm glad the Government recognises that we older workers contribute and that we do our part to try and keep healthy so we can work."

Joanna Seow

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 25, 2016, with the headline 'Relief cabby motivated 'to keep working''. Print Edition | Subscribe