SkillsFuture Credit claims processes to be revised from May 19 to reduce risk of abuse

Visitors at a SkillsFuture roadshow on Feb 22, 2016. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) will revise the processes to claim SkillsFuture Credit from May 19, as it seeks to reduce the risk of abuse.

In a media release on Wednesday (April 26), SSG said under the new process, all SkillsFuture Credit payments will be made to training providers instead of individuals.

Individuals can still continue to submit claims, but training providers will instead collect net fees from them after offsetting the credit used.

Explaining its revision, SSG said it uncovered more than 4,400 individuals who had submitted false claims in end January this year. SSG said in February that $2.2 million had been paid out for the false claims, in the largest case of abuse to hit the SkillsFuture scheme.

It subsequently formed a process review committee, which recognised that claims processes should still be simple and easy, while at the same time steps had to be taken to reduce the risk of fraudulent claims.

SSG, however, will continue to make an exception for selected overseas Massive Open Online Courses where SkillsFuture credit payments to training providers are currently not available.

Individuals who sign up for such programmes will need to provide supporting payment documents as part of the claims submission process.

In an update on its action to recover monies from individuals involved in fraudulent claims, SSG said it has issued letters to them.

As of Tuesday (April 25), more than 85 per cent of these individuals have returned the monies or taken steps to do so.

It added that final letters of demand will be sent to the remaining individuals, and legal action will be taken should they fail to return the monies.

"Drawing from our experience in implementing the SkillsFuture Credit over the past one year, we will continue to review and improve our policies and procedures, while keeping the claims process user-friendly to encourage Singaporeans to use their SkillsFuture Credit," said SSG chief executive Ng Cher Pong.

"For individuals and organisations that abuse the SkillsFuture Credit, we take a stern view and will not hesitate to act against the parties involved."

Those who submit false information to SSG and are prosecuted under Section 58 of the SkillsFuture Singapore Agency Act 2016 could be fined up to $10,000 and/or jailed up to 12 months.

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