SINGAPORE: A total of S$131 million was disbursed in the last financial year to about 79,500 beneficiaries of the various ComCare schemes, with the number of households receiving such assistance increasing over the past five years.
The figures were comparable to what was given out in FY2016, when S$130 million was disbursed to about 83,000 beneficiaries, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) said in a media release on Thursday (Oct 4).
ComCare provides social assistance for low-income individuals and families, and is disbursed mainly through three schemes: Long-Term Assistance, Short-to-Medium-Term Assistance and Student Care Fee Assistance.
The majority - about 70 per cent - of the 39,300 households on ComCare received short-to-medium-term assistance, which helps families tide over difficult times and regain stability.
There were about 28,000 such beneficiaries in FY2017, a 15 per cent increase from around 24,300 in FY2013.
MSF said that the proportion of households headed by people aged 55 to 64 on short-to-medium-term assistance increased from 19 per cent in FY2013 to 24 per cent in FY2017. This increase corresponds to demographic trends such as decreasing family sizes and an ageing population, said MSF.
About 4,400 households received long-term assistance, which provides a package of support for individuals who are unable to work due to old age, illness or disability and have little or no family support. This represented a 24 per cent increase from 3,600 in FY2013.
The majority of households on long-term assistance in FY2017 - about 79 per cent - were headed by seniors aged 65 and above.
About 8,400 households received assistance in student care fees, a 40 per cent jump from 6,000 in FY2013. This is due to the expansion of school-based student care in recent years, as well as the raising of income criteria to support more low-income families.
Minister for Social and Family Development Desmond Lee said: "ComCare continues to be a key social safety net with ComCare assistance increasing over the years.
"For families with more complex needs, we are partnering closely with government and community agencies to better coordinate and integrate our delivery of social services."