S’poreans aware of govt assistance schemes but unsure if they benefited: Poll

Most Singaporeans are aware of the assistance schemes and benefits available to them, but they do not know if they did receive those subsidies, according to a poll done by the Government’s feedback unit Reach.

The telephone survey of 2,219 citizens done late last year also flagged the elderly and low-income groups as the ones who are less likely to know if they have benefited from the schemes.

This is the first time a survey has been done to find out how much people know about the schemes and policies meant to help them.They were asked questions pertaining to areas such as housing, healthcare as well as employment and assistance.

Its findings show that most people have heard of the various subsidies and benefits. For example, 94 per cent of those polled knew about benefits that are given to promote families. 88 per cent have heard about the GST Voucher Scheme.

Even for the least known policies, such as personal income tax rebates and Workfare Income Supplement, seven out of ten people were aware of them.

However, they were less sure when it came down to the finer details of whether they have received these subsidies and how much those amount to.

Two in three did not realise that they received housing subsidies and four in 10 underestimated the subsidies they are entitled to in a Class B2 ward.

The poor and the elderly registered lower levels of awareness of the benefits. For instance, while nearly three in four of those earning $4,000 and above were cognizant of receiving personal income tax rebates, one in two of the older or lower-income HDB dwellers was clueless about whether they have received any medical subsidies.

Reach said the findings were shared with public agencies and it will work more closely with community organisations and voluntary welfare organisations to increase the level of awareness of the schemes to heartlanders.

Outreach will be done on different platforms such as dialogue sessions, collaterals and videos in English and vernacular languages.