Lonely and ‘waiting to die’

I refer to the article “Lonely and ‘waiting to die’, Singapore’s elderly poor find hope in many helping hands” (Channel NewsAsia, May 19).

$500 financial assistance a month

It states that ““She was receiving financial assistance, about S$500 a month,” said Ms Ahmala, a care executive with NTUC Health Cluster Support in Bukit Merah. “But she wasn’t managing it. She was always left with nothing, and she could never tell what happened to her money.”

No money to go for medical appointment?

And then there’s the cost of transport just to keep a doctors’ appointment, or of getting the proper nutrition. Said Mr Oh:

The elderly poor are prioritising their basic needs over their health. They will say that they can’t even afford three meals a day.

“The worst case I met, he’s surviving on S$2 chicken rice a day and S$1 mineral water. The rest of the day he will just eat biscuits.””

Got Public Assistance Scheme?

As to “Singapore’s elderly poor are not short of assistance schemes by the State to meet their material needs: From heavy medical subsidies and food vouchers, to long-term financial assistance, and even rental waivers for those on Public Assistance” – an important statistic may be missing.

How many on Public Assistance?

How many are on ComCare’s Public Assistance Scheme?

Only 3,800 on Public Assistance?

According to the article “Parliament: Higher cash allowance for those on Public Assistance” (Straits Times, Apr 12, 2016) – “About 3,800 households, mostly elderly households, are expected get the increment.

Can’t work due to old age, illness or disability, & no means of income & family support?

Those on Public Assistance – also known as ComCare Long Term Assistance – are Singaporeans who cannot work due to old age, illness or disability. They also have little or no means of income and family support.”

No. on Public Assistance only increased by 1,086 in 12 years?

The number of Singaporeans who qualify under the Public Assistance Scheme (PA) has increased, from 2714 in December 2004, to about 3,800 in 2016.

50% rejection rate?

Prior to May 2014 – when the question was last asked in Parliament as to the rejection rate for applications for Public Assistance, the answer was that about 50 per cent were rejected.

Lowest ratio of Public Assistance to population in the world?

Singapore’s ratio of PA receipients relative to the population may be one of the lowest in the world.

Leong Sze Hian

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