Hundreds more families to benefit from monthly zakat financial assistance

Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli (left) serving food during the Ramadan Disbursement Ceremony on June 8, 2018.
Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli (left) serving food during the Ramadan Disbursement Ceremony on June 8, 2018.ST PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - Hundreds more families will be able to benefit from monthly zakat financial assistance from Sept 1, when a revision in eligibility criteria comes into effect.

Expected to benefit 700 more families, up from the current 4,000, the revision will see the eligibility criteria increase from a household per capita income of $350 to $400, Minister-in-charge of Muslim Affairs Masagos Zulkifli announced at the Ramadan Disbursement Ceremony on Friday (June 8) .

The move comes amid inflation as well as the changing needs of beneficiaries, said Mr Masagos, who is also Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

“If you look at inflation, the cost of living and also the stagnation of income... we would like to be able to supplement some of this gap and to ensure that the low-income families get the additional support that they need,” said Madam Muzaiyanah Hamzah, head of the Islamic Religious Council of Singapore's (Muis) Social Development Strategic Unit.

In addition, 4,300 families,  including zakat beneficiaries, selected recipients of Comcare Long Term Assistance and residents of welfare homes, will receive a Ramadan bonus this year of between $150 and $1,000 in cash, depending on the size of the household.

The bonus is part of Muis' annual Ramadan Disbursement. This year, $2.3 million will be disbursed to beneficiaries, a 23.5 per cent increase from last year.

The disbursement will also fund mosque support programmes for the poor and needy, which include Iftar (breaking of fast) and the purchase of Hari Raya Aidilfitri essentials, as well as Hari Raya Aidilfitri hampers for beneficiaries.

At the ceremony, beneficiaries such as Madam Aminah Delima Rais expressed appreciation for the organisation’s support.

A single mother with eight children aged six to 18, Madam Aminah said that the extra money helps keep the family afloat. In addition to day-to-day expenses, the money also helps pay for her hospital bills.

The 48-year-old Grab driver, who suffers from liver enlargement and might have to go for an operation soon, hopes that the money will help tide the family over while she is hospitalised and unable to work.

“It’s very hard for me to handle the expenses of eight children and myself... we really do feel grateful for the help,” she added.