Measures to support families to send their children to pre-schools, secure stable jobs with payable CPF, and financial motivations to buy their own homes.
The details of the ComLink+ scheme, which supports such aspirations, were announced by Singapore’s Minister for Social and Family Development Masagos Zulkifli on Nov 20.
It is a scheme that falls under the umbrella of reducing income inequality and boosting social mobility under the Forward Singapore report.
About 14,000 families on the existing ComLink scheme are eligible for the new areas of support, which will be rolled out in the second half of next year.
Here are the support packages and details on what ComLink+ is about.
What Is The ComLink+ Scheme
The scheme supports low-income families, but is a shift from just providing basic, short-term social assistance.
There are additional measures that will ease the financial pressures on families while motivating them to achieve long-term financial goals.
It is a build-on from the existing ComLink programme in 2019, where low-income families with children living in HDB rental flats are given coordinated and comprehensive support ranging from job assistance to children’s development.
The ComLink+ support measures will be on trial for three years for the government to assess the effectiveness of the scheme, before any plans to scale it up.
#1 Support Package For Preschool Education
Preschool enrolment and a good attendance rate may be a norm to most families, but for lower-income families, statistics show that the attendance for their young children is lower than the national average. This is especially true for children from three to four years old.
To support lower-income families, each child enrolled in preschool will get a one-time $500 top-up to his or her Child Development Account (CDA). The CDA is a special savings account for the child to pay for preschool and healthcare costs when the child turns three.
Children aged three to six will receive a $200 top-up to their CDA every three months upon regular attendance at preschool. Regular attendance is marked by attending school at least 75% of the time.
#2 Support Package For Stable Employment
Individuals will get financial incentives if they work in a job that pays CPF contributions with a gross salary of at least $1,400 a month.
Adults who have jobs that meet the criteria will receive $450 to $550 in financial top-ups for every quarter of employment, in a combination of cash and CPF payouts.
The support grows if both adults in the same household are working and qualify for the scheme. They will each receive $50 extra every quarter. The maximum number of beneficiaries per household is two people.
#3 Support Package For Debt Clearance
A dollar-for-dollar will be matched (up to $2,500) if the family repays what is owed, determined as verifiable debt.
Verifiable debt is defined as debt owed to licensed companies, such as utilities and housing arrears that are verifiable and the repayments are trackable.
The scheme does not cover debt to unlicensed moneylenders and money borrowed from friends and family.
However, this package can only be received once. To qualify, families must also not be receiving financial aid from the government’s ComCare Scheme.
An interesting fact about this package is that it is funded entirely by donors, including Singapore Pools.
#4 Support Package For Home Ownership
For every $1 that the family contributes to their CPF Ordinary Account, the government will top that up with $2. This is to help families save up more quickly for their flat purchase and motivate them to fulfil the dream of owning their own home.
The total payouts per family will be up to $30,000, across this package and the employment package.
The top-ups will be provided as long as the family is eligible for them, or until the family reaches the payout limit, whichever is earlier.
The government and DBS are funding the home ownership package.
Featured Image Credit: Wei Heng/DollarsAndSense
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