Use of CPF Contribution History in 2020 as Alternative Criteria to Determine Eligibility for GST Vouchers04 Nov 2020
Parliamentary Question by Mr Leon Perera:
To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance in light of the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on incomes in 2020, whether the Government will consider (i) using Singaporean citizens’ CPF contribution history in 2020 as an alternative criteria to the current criteria of income earned in 2018, annual value of home, and HDB flat type to determine their eligibility for GST Vouchers and (ii) allowing self-employed persons who are not mandatorily subject to the CPF contribution scheme and who are receiving no or low income in 2020 to receive GST vouchers through reporting their income in 2020.
Parliamentary Reply by Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister for Finance, Mr Heng Swee Keat:
The GST Voucher (GSTV) scheme provides support to lower- and middle-income households for their expenses. The eligibility criteria help to ensure that the scheme prioritises those who need more support. To ensure this scheme effectively delivers benefits to those who need it more, eligibility for the cash payout is based on the individual’s Assessable Income (AI) and the Annual Value of his or her residence, and he or she should not own more than one property.
We use AI as a measure of an individual’s means because it includes all forms of income from trade, business, profession or vocation, employment, and rental, and it covers both employees and self-employed persons. AI is more comprehensive, and is a better reflection of an individual’s means and income, regardless of source. In comparison, CPF contribution history only takes into account employment and trade income.
In the event of an appeal by a Singaporean who does not meet the scheme criterion but who recently experienced a fall in income, we will look at his or her latest income status as well as other supporting documents such as his or her CPF contribution history, in considering the appeal.
Besides the GSTV, the Government has put in place additional support schemes to help Singaporean workers and families. This includes schemes like the COVID-19 Support Grant, where we look at recent changes in the individuals’ circumstances. This combination of flexibility in reviewing appeals for permanent schemes like the GSTV and the introduction of more responsive COVID-related schemes allow us to provide help to those who need it.