FB post on man's rejected request for aid: MSF says he already gets help from various sources

In a Facebook post, Singapore People's Party member Jose Raymond queried why the resident had his request for long-term financial assistance rejected by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.
In a Facebook post, Singapore People's Party member Jose Raymond queried why the resident had his request for long-term financial assistance rejected by the Ministry of Social and Family Development.PHOTO: FACEBOOK/JOSE RAYMOND

SINGAPORE - The needs of a visually impaired Toa Payoh resident with kidney failure, whose plight had been highlighted in a recent Facebook post, are being met through various sources, said the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).

He had been referred to the Toa Payoh Social Service Office (SSO) in February, and it found that he did not currently require ComCare Long Term Assistance.

However, the SSO will reassess the 59-year-old's needs if circumstances change, and work with agencies and community partners to support him, said the ministry in a Facebook post on Saturday (June 16).

The MSF was responding to a June 13 post by Singapore People's Party member Jose Raymond that had gone viral.

He had shared a letter addressed to the resident from MSF dated May 21 in his post, which noted that the resident had requested for assistance via his MP Saktiandi Supaat.

The letter said that the resident is receiving a monthly payout from his Central Provident Fund savings.

"As you have a source of income, we are unable to assist you with the financial assistance," it added.

In his post, Mr Raymond queried why the resident, who has been declared medically unfit to work, has had his request for long-term financial assistance rejected by the MSF.

"All because he receives a $620 monthly payout from his own CPF account, which is higher than the prevailing rate of public assistance which is $500 for an individual," wrote Mr Raymond in the post, asking MSF to explain the policy rationale behind this.

He added that the resident does not have any children, or family members whom he can rely on.

"Our citizens need to lead dignified lives," added Mr Raymond.

Elaborating on the resident's case, the MSF said that the resident's monthly payouts of $620 from his CPF retirement account are sufficient for around three years, and he receives an additional $550 a month from a close friend who lives overseas.

A Buddhist temple pays for the monthly rent of his two-room Housing Board flat, which is $50 a month, as well as conservancy fees. His weekly dialysis charges and taxi trips to the dialysis centre are fully covered by the National Kidney Foundation (NKF), and he also receives full subsidy for his medical treatment at Tan Tock Seng Hospital, it added.

Two meals a day are also provided by TOUCH Home Care, while the Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped provides him with monthly food rations.

The Toa Payoh Central Grassroots Organisations also provided financial assistance for him between February to April this year, and visited him, said MSF. The SSO is also working with NKF to assess if he needs more support when he travels to and from his dialysis appointments.

Its response comes a day after the Ministry of Home Affairs responded to a case that Mr Raymond had highlighted earlier this month, involving a Potong Pasir resident who was rejected for the job of a security officer as he was deemed not "fit and proper" in view of his past conviction.

The MSF added in its post on Saturday that the funds and overall support given by the Government, the community, family and friends to the applicant are taken into account when assessing if they require ComCare Long Term Assistance, in addition to the applicant's needs.

ComCare Long Term Assistance provides long-term support to those who are unable to work due to old age, illness or disability, have limited or no means of income, and have little or no family support.

"This reflects our partnership approach that involves the community and families," said MSF, adding that members of the public who know of someone in need can call the ComCare hotline at 1800-222-0000 or approach the nearest MSF SSO or Family Service Centre for help.