Long-term assistance scheme a lifeline for elderly poor living alone

Mr Goh Hee Seng, 66, is among those from more than 4,000 households which have received financial support under the long-term assistance in the last financial year.
Mr Goh Hee Seng, 66, is among those from more than 4,000 households which have received financial support under the long-term assistance in the last financial year.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - Alone, in poor health and with little savings, Mr Goh Hee Seng, 66, was in dire straits after he had to have his right foot amputated in 2016 due to diabetes.

The bachelor used to earn about $700 as a cleaner, but was told not to return to work by his supervisor after he had his surgery. And having lost contact with his three siblings, Mr Goh did not know who else to turn to .

Then a friend told him that he could get assistance from the Government, and Mr Goh wrote in to an MP for help. He was eventually put on the long-term assistance scheme in December 2016.

Mr Goh was among those from more than 4,000 households which received financial support under this scheme in the last financial year. According to the Community Care Endowment Fund annual report released on Thursday (Oct 4), this number has been steadily climbing in the past five years.

Mr Goh receives about $500 every month to pay for his rent and daily meals.

His medical bills are also covered by the scheme, and he visits the doctor about once in two months to check on his health condition as he also has high blood pressure.

"The money is not a lot, but I've got enough money to eat, and that's good enough," said Mr Goh in Mandarin.