Automating means-testing renewal process can ease matters

As Singapore progresses towards its Smart Nation vision, it is time that the IT systems across statutory boards and ministries link up important information like individual incomes and means-testing results.

Why does the Ministry of Health (MOH) require Singaporeans who are renewing their Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas) cards to submit a hard copy form every two years for the retesting of the existing means-test results?

Means-testing is known to be a tedious, time-consuming and expensive administrative process.

Why cannot this process be paperless and automated?

Linking Central Provident Fund (CPF) data with the MOH system will make life easier for low-income families.

Furthermore, it is rare for low-income families' socio-economic statuses to change, considering that their income levels are unlikely to change significantly.

I appeal to MOH and the other authorities involved to automate their means-testing renewal process by linking up CPF data directly to the means-testing system.

Seeking permission to access people's personal and confidential information can be done in the first Chas application itself.

These families will be more than happy to grant this access as long as the automation can give them peace of mind in not having to fill up the means-test renewal form every two years.

Lim Yong Ru

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2018, with the headline 'Automating means-testing renewal process can ease matters'. Print Edition | Subscribe