More seniors will have their retirement incomes enhanced with changes to the Silver Support scheme, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said yesterday.
The scheme, launched in 2016 to top up the retirement incomes of the bottom 20 per cent of Singaporeans aged 65 and above, will be extended to cover households with a monthly income per person of not more than $1,800. The previous threshold was $1,100.
Those with a monthly household per capita income of $1,300 or less will each receive a quarterly payout of $360 to $900.
Those with a monthly household income per person of above $1,300, but not exceeding $1,800, will each receive a payout of between $180 and $450 every quarter.
The scheme is for those living in one-to five-room Housing Board flats, among other criteria.
In total, about 100,000 more seniors will benefit from the enhanced Silver Support scheme next year.
Mr Heng said that the Silver Support scheme was created to complement the Central Provident Fund (CPF) scheme, as a small segment of the elderly population had low incomes during their working years, and currently have little or no family support.
"The scheme is now almost five years old and a review is timely," he said.
The threshold for lifetime wages will also be expanded to cover more seniors under the scheme, Mr Heng announced.
HAPPY TO GET HELP
This will be a great help. The cost of food items like fish and vegetables have gone up, and we try to scrimp and save to make sure that we have enough for household necessities.
MADAM LEE LAI KUM, 71, who lives in a two-room rental flat in Toa Payoh.
Those with total CPF contributions of not more than $140,000 by age 55, and self-employed people with an average annual net trade income of not more than $27,600 when they were aged 45 to 54, will be eligible for Silver Support.
These criteria are currently $70,000 and $22,800, respectively.
Payouts will also be raised by 20 per cent for those who are currently eligible for the scheme.
There is no need to apply for the scheme. Eligible seniors will be notified by the CPF Board and start receiving payouts under the enhanced scheme from December.
The cost of the scheme will nearly double from $330 million now, to around $620 million next year.
Madam Lee Lai Kum, 71, who lives in a two-room rental flat in Toa Payoh with her 71-year-old husband and 91-year-old mother, cheered the move.
They are now each receiving $750 of Silver Support every quarter, and this will rise to $900. Madam Lee used to earn about $400 a month as a part-time cleaner, but had to stop work a few years ago to take care of her mother, who is frail and unable to perform chores on her own.
Madam Lee's husband is a retired odd-job worker.
"This will be a great help. The cost of food items like fish and vegetables have gone up, and we try to scrimp and save to make sure that we have enough for household necessities. We also rely on regular donations from charities," she said.