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     FrontPage Edition: Sat 8 March 2008

More help for the needy


The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) will be providing more help to needy families through the following initiatives:

(i) Enhancement to the Public Assistance Scheme;

(ii) A new ComCare Transitions Scheme to help needy persons who are temporarily unable to work;

(iii) More help for children from needy families to attend kindergarten and childcare centres; and

(iv) More resources for Grassroots Organisations, Voluntary Welfare Organisations and Self-Help Groups to help the needy.

These initiatives are on-top of the 2007 enhancements to the ComCare Fund (see Annex A). In total, MCYS expects to spend $16.1 million more in FY08. The new initiatives are expected to help an additional 10,500 needy cases. As at end Dec 2007, there were about 17,500 cases receiving assistance under the ComCare schemes.
The ComCare Fund budget for FY08 is $63.7 million, up by 34% from the $47.6 million for FY07. MCYS also provides other social services for the low-income and the needy, such as homes, family service centres, senior activity centres, and other social infrastructure. In all, the expenditure for FY07 on help for the low-income and needy is $147.4 million. This figure is projected to increase to $168 million in the coming year.
Enhancement to the Public Assistance Scheme
The Public Assistance allowance is calibrated to provide for the basic living needs of PA recipients. At the same time, the allowance is only one of four components of help they receive. The other three components include:
(i) Additional Government subsidies viz free medical treatment, subsidised rental, utilities and service, conservancy charges rebates and education subsidies.

(ii) Additional payouts for low income and elderly from the GST Offset package, Senior Citizensí Bonus as well as Growth Dividends.

(iii) Community support from Voluntary Welfare Organisations.

Increase in Public Assistance Allowance Rates
MCYS will increase Public Assistance rates, to give Public Assistance recipients more assurance that they can meet their basic needs.
Recipients can expect an increase of between $40 and $165 a month, depending on their household type. An elderly Public Assistance recipient living alone will see a 14% increase from $290 a month to $330 a month. A family with two adults and two children will see their assistance increase by 19% from $855 to $1,020 a month, while families with five or more persons will see their assistance increase by 17 percent from $940 a month to $1,100 a month. (See Annex B for details)

Source: Media Release 5 Mar 2008

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