$130m given to 87,000 beneficiaries under ComCare

An elderly man walking along a covered walkway in Toa Payoh. A total of $130 million was distributed to beneficiaries under ComCare.
An elderly man walking along a covered walkway in Toa Payoh. A total of $130 million was distributed to beneficiaries under ComCare.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Government ComCare schemes helped some 87,000 beneficiaries, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said on Friday (Dec 9).

A total of $130 million was distributed, a 10 per cent increase from last year, said MSF.

These figures and other trends were published in the ComCare Annual Report and Trends Report on Friday.

The number of households on short-to-medium term assistance, which makes up the majority of those under ComCare, has increased.

There were 29,511 households in FY2015, an increase of 7 per cent over FY2014's 27,461.

Those on long-term assistance increased by 10 per cent, from 3,846 to 4,248.

The profiles of households on the two schemes have not changed much over the past four years.

Those on long-term assistance were mainly elderly living alone who were aged 65 years and above.

Households on short-to-medium term assistance were mostly headed by people from 45 to 64 years old.

There is, however, a trend of more households headed by older persons - between 55 and 64 years old - on short-to-medium term assistance.

These increased from 18 per cent in FY2012 to 22 per cent in FY2015.

Minister for Social and Family Development Tan Chuan-Jin said: "The ComCare trends point to more households with older persons or retirees requiring social assistance. This could reflect the realities of shrinking family sizes and an ageing population."

There was a slight increase in the proportion of short-to-medium term assistance applicants who were not working because they were medically unfit or retired.

Despite greater economic uncertainty, the proportion of applicants who were job seekers was on a downward trend, but MSF will continue to monitor the trends closely, and work with partners such as Workforce Singapore to provide financial and employment assistance where needed.

Mr Tan said: "While the proportion of unemployed ComCare applicants has remained stable, MSF will continue to monitor the situation and work closely with community partners to provide help to these families."

There was a 15 per cent increase in children receiving student care fee assistance, from 8,339 beneficiaries in FY2014 to 9,605 in FY2015.

"This was likely due to the increase in the number of student care centre places, giving more children access to student care services," MSF said.

The ministry had also raised the household monthly income eligibility level for the scheme from $3,500 to $4,000 in January 2016.

The full FY2015 ComCare Annual Report and the ComCare Trends Report are available here.