Why consider employer CPF contribution in Chas application?

I applaud the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas), which enables Singapore citizens from lower- to middle-income households, and all pioneers, to receive subsidies for medical and dental care at participating general practitioners and dental clinics near their homes, and also at specified community health centres.

However, I am baffled by the qualification criteria.

We submitted an application for the Chas card in 2015. But it was rejected because we did not meet the income criterion.

I called the Chas hotline and was informed that Household Monthly Income is based on total gross income, which includes bonuses and commissions.

At the end of last year, after doing a re-calculation of our household monthly income (this time, making sure that bonuses and commissions were added), we put in a new application to Chas. This was also rejected.

Perplexed, I called the Chas hotline again. This time, I was informed that total gross income also includes employers' Central Provident Fund contributions.

I fail to understand why employers' CPF contributions are included in the calculation of total gross income under Chas.

The employers' CPF contributions form part of CPF savings, which can be withdrawn only when members turn 55. This money does not help in paying daily household expenses.

I sincerely hope the Government will be flexible in granting approval under Chas, especially to those who meet the income criterion before the employers' CPF contributions are added.

Betty Ho Peck Woon (Ms)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 15, 2017, with the headline 'Why consider employer CPF contribution in Chas application?'. Print Edition | Subscribe