We thank Mr Kevin Tan for his views (Reduction in ComCare aid a burden to recipients, ST Online, Nov 17).
ComCare Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance (SMTA) supports low-income households requiring help with basic living expenses. Other than cash assistance and assistance with medical expenses, ComCare households on the SMTA scheme may receive assistance with their household bills, including rental, utilities, and service and conservancy charges.
The Ministry of Social and Family Development's (MSF) social service offices (SSOs) also connect ComCare households to relevant services and support by government agencies and community partners, such as employment assistance and assistance from family service centres.
ComCare households benefit from other Covid-related government Budget support schemes that are disbursed to all Singaporeans, such as the Care and Support Package and Solidarity Payment. These are on top of the ComCare assistance they currently receive.
During this Covid-19 situation, MSF has automatically extended ComCare assistance by six months for some 12,000 households whose assistance was due to end between May and October this year, so that they do not need to reapply for assistance. New ComCare beneficiaries generally receive at least six months of support which provide them with a longer runway to stabilise their financial circumstances.
As ComCare beneficiaries already receive comprehensive and tailored support, their ComCare assistance quantum will be adjusted if they also receive other government assistance that similarly supports their basic living expenses. This is to reduce duplication in government assistance and will enable us to channel these resources to help those with greater needs.
ComCare households that receive payouts from the Self-Employed Person Income Relief Scheme (Sirs) will have their ComCare cash assistance reviewed for the period of Sirs assistance, taking into consideration the family's financial circumstances and the monies received from Sirs. These ComCare households will continue to receive help with their medical expenses at public healthcare institutions. We may also assist with their household bills.
ComCare households that face changes in their financial circumstances can approach our SSOs to have their ComCare assistance reviewed. The SSO will assess their new circumstances and adjust their ComCare support as needed.
Kong Kum Peck
ComCare and Social Support Division
Ministry of Social and Family Development