Forum: Ensure needy seniors know where to get social assistance

An elderly man at Serangoon estate.
An elderly man at Serangoon estate.ST PHOTO: KELLY HUI

It is not uncommon to see a number of senior citizens serving in physically intensive jobs such as facility cleaners, dish cleaners or cardboard collectors.

Some of these seniors appear to be frail or not in good physical shape, and some are limp or severely hunched over.

This occurs despite the Government having various schemes that help low-income seniors, which are very beneficial.

A team of university researchers from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore, published research in May that showed that the budget required to meet basic standards of living is about $1,379 a month for a single man or woman aged 65 and above (Study finds older singles need $1,379 per month, May 23).

ComCare provides long-term assistance of about $600 a month, for a single person.

For a senior on ComCare long-term assistance, there is also the Silver Support Scheme which provides a payout of $300 every quarter.

It may be possible that these seniors work because they wish to.

It may be possible that these seniors work because they wish to.

But there are those who work as cleaners despite physical challenges perhaps because they are not able to cope or they do not know how to apply for the available schemes.

But there are those who work as cleaners despite physical challenges perhaps because they are not able to cope or they do not know how to apply for the available schemes.

Perhaps the authorities could research this matter more deeply. This is so that needy seniors in Singapore who are frail or in poor health may be adequately served by social assistance schemes.

Lam Yin Yin

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2019, with the headline 'Ensure needy seniors know where to get social assistance'. Print Edition | Subscribe