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     FrontPage Edition: Fri 11 April 2008

Start date for increase in Public Assistance Rates brought forward


Increase in Public Assistance Rates Brought Forward to May 2008
COMCARE to provide Flexible Assistance at Local Level
To help needy Singaporeans better cope with rising food costs, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS) will bring forward the implementation date of the increase in Public Assistance rates to May 2008. The Citizens' Consultative Committee ComCare Fund (CCC ComCare Fund) will also provide flexible assistance to needy Singaporeans at the local level.
From 5 May 2008, Public Assistance (PA) recipients can expect a rate increase of between $40 and $165 a month, depending on their household type. An elderly Public Assistance recipient living alone will see an increase from $290 to $330 a month. A family with two adults and two children will see their assistance increase from $855 to $1,020 a month, while families with five or more persons will see their assistance increase from $940 to $1,100 a month. The implementation date has been brought forward from 1 July 2008.
PA recipients receive free medical treatment, subsidized rentals, utilities and service and conservancy charges rebates. They will also be receiving this year's payments from the Budget 2007 GST Offset Package and Budget 2008 Surplus Sharing Schemes.
The first disbursement of the Growth Dividend will be made on 30 April 2008. A single elderly PA recipient living in a one-room rental flat will receive $300 in April 2008, and about $1,000 in cash by the end of the year. These payments, together with the PA rate increase, will enable PA recipients to cope with the recent increases in the cost of living.
On top of this, the CCC ComCare Fund enables the CCCs and grassroots leaders to provide immediate assistance to needy families in financial difficulties. The CCCs administer such assistance in a flexible manner. Individual CCCs will be allowed to formulate relevant local schemes to address specific needs.
There are sufficient funds and resources available to help needy Singaporeans cope with rising food prices. For FY08, MCYS expects to spend around $64 million to help needy Singaporeans under the various ComCare programme.
Singaporeans who need help should go to the Community Development Councils or Family Service Centres, or approach their grassroots leaders. They can also call ComCare helpline at 1800 - 222 0000. If you know any needy Singaporeans who need help, please call the ComCare helpline on their behalf.

Source: Press Release 11 Apr 2008

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