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Parliamentary Replies

Review of Social Support Schemes in Light of Inflationary Pressures

03 Oct 2023

Parliamentary Question by Mr Yip Hon Weng:

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance in light of the recommendations by the Minimum Income Standards Report 2023 (a) how frequently does the Government conduct reviews to ensure that payouts for various support schemes remain adequate in light of current inflationary rates; (b) whether the Government practises "indexing" to align the payouts with inflationary trends; and (c) whether the Government will consider updating the payouts for the Silver Support Scheme as these have not been adjusted between 2020 and 2022 despite high inflation.

Parliamentary Reply by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Lawrence Wong:

The Government regularly reviews the scope, coverage and payout quanta of our social support schemes. Such reviews do take into account macroeconomic trends such as inflation. This approach allows us to carefully assess the overall landscape of social assistance, and ensure that our support is sized appropriately, and targeted at those who need it more.

For instance, MSF reviews ComCare payouts every two to three years, referencing price data from the Department of Statistics and other sources, and factors in projected inflation. Domain experts in areas such as nutrition and transport, and community stakeholders who work closely with lower-income families, are also consulted in the reviews. MSF recently raised the amount of cash assistance and the monthly per capita household income (PCHI) benchmark for ComCare in August 2022 and July 2023 respectively.

MOM also reviews the Silver Support Scheme regularly. The scheme was recently enhanced in 2021, where MOM raised the quarterly payouts by 20% and expanded the thresholds for lifetime wages and monthly PCHI to cover more seniors. The Government will continue to review and update the Silver Support Scheme, and we will share more details in due course.  

Our regular reviews go beyond updates to scheme parameters. We also analyse longer-term trends and introduce new schemes to address emerging or new areas. For example, we introduced the Majulah Package to boost the retirement and healthcare adequacy of “young seniors” who are currently in their 50s and early 60s, with more support given to those with lower incomes and less wealth. 

Where necessary, the Government will complement these measures with targeted one-off support to help Singaporeans manage immediate cost of living pressures. This includes the recently announced $1.1 billion Cost-of-Living Support Package.   

The Government is committed to supporting Singaporeans, especially those in need. As the needs of Singaporeans evolve, we will continue to regularly review our social support schemes to ensure that they remain relevant and adequate.