GST Voucher criteria aim to be fair and practical12 Sep 2012
Mr Lau Swee Kwong (“Unfair criteria for GST Vouchers”, TODAY, Sep 6) expressed concern over the use of 2010 income to calculate the cash amount, and the age criterion for Medisave top-ups, under the GST Voucher (GSTV) scheme.
For Singaporeans to receive their GSTV by August, we have to determine the payouts based on the latest available Assessable Income, which is the Assessable Income for Year of Assessment 2011 (based on income earned in 2010). If we were to use income earned in 2011, it would mean delaying payouts until December 2012, after IRAS has completed the tax assessments.
Nonetheless, Singaporeans facing extenuating circumstances can apply to the CPF Board at firstname.lastname@example.org to take into account their more recent income situation. Their applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
As Mr Lau has pointed out, the GSTV - Medisave is targeted at retirees. Although the current minimum retirement age is 62 years, under the Retirement and Re-employment Act, employers are required to offer re-employment until 65 years. Hence, we have used 65 years to define the group which will have greatest need and benefit from GSTV - Medisave.
We seek Mr Lau’s understanding that any national Government payout scheme requires an approximate way of distinguishing citizens with greater needs. We will continue to review the needs of our lower-income citizens and retirees, and where necessary refine the criteria for the GST Voucher scheme in future years.
Lim Bee Khim (Ms)
Director (Corporate Communications)
Ministry of Finance