Earlier today, the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) released a Facebook post outlining the reasons why a 59-year old man who is visually handicapped, has kidney failure and had been declared medically unfit to work was denied long-term financial assistance.
Their reply comes after member of the Singapore People’s Party Jose Raymond shared the man’s story on Facebook on June 13.
Mr Raymond said that the man receives a $620 monthly pay-out from his own CPF account, which is an amount higher than the prevailing rate of Public Assistance of $500, and hence the man was denied any financial assistance.
In his post, Mr Raymond also noted that a temple paid for the rental of the man’s flat in Toa Payoh and he had one meal a day delivered to him by a well-wisher. He also added that the 59-year old visually handicapped man’s dialysis treatment was paid for by the Ministry of Health and National Kidney Foundation subsidies.
MSF’s response in their Facebook post states the different sources of income of the 59-year old.
They said, “Mr T has been receiving the following support:
1. The monthly rent for his HDB 2-room rental flat of $50 a month (shared by him and 2 other tenants), as well as conservancy fees, are paid for by a Buddhist Temple.
2. Mr T’s weekly kidney dialysis charges are fully covered by National Kidney Foundation (NKF).
3. His taxi trips to the dialysis centre are fully subsidised by an NKF taxi card.
4. The SSO is working with NKF to assess whether he needs more support when he travels to and from his dialysis appointments.
5. He receives full subsidy for his medical treatment at Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH).
6. TOUCH Home Care provides him 2 daily meals, under MOH’s programme, which are delivered to his home every day.
7. The Singapore Association for the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) provides Mr T with monthly food rations.
8. Mr T receives monthly payouts of $620 a month from his CPF Retirement Account, which is sufficient for around 3 years.
9. He receives an additional $550 a month from a close friend who lives overseas.”
They continued, “Based on his daily expenses, monies received, and the community support provided, the SSO assessed that Mr T did not currently require ComCare LTA”.
Netizens who commented on the MSF’s Facebook post chided Jose Raymond for his own post.
TISG contacted Mr Raymond for comment, who said that ultimately, “The MSF has not responded to the core issue. Why is one’s CPF being treated as income when it assesses social assistance needs?”
He added that, “The MSF states that the resident receives $550 a month from a well wisher. This is not true, according to the resident. The amount given is sporadic and not on a monthly basis. Also it is meant to look after three people’s needs, not just the resident in question. Also, please note that the two other residents are also blind and unable to work. It is strange for the MSF to take that special sum which the trio receive sporadically and consider it as income, and state it is received monthly”.
Mr Raymond also said, “While I am glad that the SSO has said that it will “reassess the needs of the residents”, it should actually be doing so now so it gets a much clearer picture of issues involving the poor and the under-privileged”.
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