Imperfect but effective eligibility criteria03 Aug 2020
Imperfect but effective eligibility criteria
Mr Li Guochang (‘It’s time to adjust aid allocation guidelines’, 24 July) provided his feedback on using Annual Value (AV) of home and HDB flat type as the eligibility criteria for the GST Voucher (GSTV) scheme.
The current AV threshold of $21,000 covers all HDB flats, a good number of condominiums and some lower-value landed properties. In addition to AV, we consider income and the number of properties owned. The AV of one’s home is not a perfect measure of wealth and family support, but by using this in combination with other criteria, we are better able to ensure that assistance is targeted at those who are in greater need of social support. These proxies provide a simple way for the Government to determine eligibility for the GSTV, without requiring citizens to apply.
For GSTV – U-Save, we use HDB flat type as a way to consider a household’s wealth when distributing the rebates. Households living in smaller HDB flats are generally less well-off than those living in larger flats, and hence they are given more rebates. While we recognise that the use of HDB flat type is not perfect, it allows for the rebates to be distributed quickly and effectively.
We recognise that not all Singaporeans living in homes with AV higher than the $21,000 threshold are well-off, and that some might experience instances of financial difficulty. This is why this year, the Government has provided additional help through the Care and Support Package, benefiting as many citizens as possible, while focusing more help to the less well-off. In addition, a one-off $100 Solidarity Utilities Credit is given to all eligible Singaporean households, across all residential property types, to thank them for staying home for Singapore during the Circuit Breaker period.
We thank Mr Li for his feedback and will continue to review the overall system of social support measures to ensure that targeted assistance reaches those who need it most, while keeping systems simple.
Lim Yuin Chien
Director (Corporate Communications)
Ministry of Finance