Parliamentary Question, 7 Oct 2019
Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Social and Family Development in each of the last five years (a) what is the average amount of cash savings per household member for households who receive (i) ComCare Short-to-Medium Term Assistance (STMA) and (ii) ComCare Long-Term Assistance (LTA) respectively; (b) what is the number and percentage of applications rejected for (i) STMA and (ii) LTA respectively due to the household’s cash savings; © whether the amount of cash savings owned by the applicant is considered in assessing his ComCare application; (d) what is the maximum amount of cash savings per household member allowed; and (e) whether this is communicated publicly.
Mr Desmond Lee: In assessing ComCare applications for financial assistance, we examine applicants’ income, owned assets, including personal savings and expenditure. Where applicants need assistance for their basic living needs, such assistance may take the form of cash assistance, assistance with their household bills, and referrals to other agencies for services such as family services and employment assistance.
In considering applicants’ savings, MSF takes into account factors, such as contingency savings for emergency expenses and household size. There is no hard threshold, and Social Service Offices can exercise flexibility taking into account the applicants’ circumstances and needs.
Table 1 provides the average amount of cash savings for households receiving ComCare Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance (SMTA) and Long-Term Assistance (LTA) per household member for 2016 to 2018. Data before 2016 is not readily available.
Table 2 provides the number and percentage of ComCare SMTA and LTA applications that were rejected due to their household’s cash savings from 2016 to 2018.
Note(s) to question 51:
 Note: Other key reasons for rejecting a ComCare application would include clients withdrawing their applications or being uncontactable, and clients having a stable source of income or financial support.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)
The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and volunteerism in Parliament.
She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).
Follow Anthea Ong on her public page at www.facebook.com/antheaonglaytheng