betty August 1, 2022

SINGAPORE – Senior citizens who are no longer eligible for the Silver Support Scheme will receive two smaller payments over two quarters to ease their transition out of the scheme, said Manpower Minister Tan See Leng on Monday (Aug 1).

Additionally, those who no longer qualify for the scheme in the following year will be notified the December before, he said.

Dr Tan was responding to a question in Parliament from Mr Liang Eng Hwa (Bukit Panjang) about support for seniors who may have been dependent on the payouts originally but had become ineligible.

The scheme, introduced in 2016, provides quarterly cash support to seniors who had lower incomes during their working years and now have little or no family support in their retirement.

It was enhanced last year with an increase in the payout quantum and eligibility criteria.

The number of recipients has increased from one in five seniors in 2020 – about 150,000 seniors – to one in three seniors this year, or about 250,000 seniors.

As a result, Silver Support payouts have nearly doubled from $330 million in 2020 to $600 million per year today, said Dr Tan.

Mr Liang had also asked if the ministry would consider reviewing the scheme to assist more seniors, and if communication on the scheme criteria could be improved.

Dr Tan replied that the Central Provident Fund (CPF) board automatically reviews the eligibility of senior citizens for the scheme every year, and that payouts are directly credited into their registered bank account or to their registered address by cheque.

One reason that a recipient becomes ineligible could be that their household monthly income per person has increased, he added. This is a broad indicator of the level of household support that is available to the senior.

“In many of these circumstances, the seniors’ financial situations have actually improved,” he said.

Recipient who are unable to transition appropriately as they exit the scheme can appeal to the CPF board, which is prepared to consider each appeal, said Dr Tan.