By Jose Raymond
A 59-year-old resident of Toa Payoh who is visually handicapped, who has kidney failure and who has been declared medically unfit to work has had his request for long term financial assistance rejected by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF).
All because he receives a $620 monthly payout from his own CPF Retirement Account, which is higher than the prevailing rate of Public Assistance which is $500 for an individual.
What is the policy rationale behind this?
For short term to medium term assistance, an individual who earns less than $650 a month qualifies for assistance.
The resident cannot work because of his medical condition and finds the $620 a month he gets from his own CPF a real stretch. Who wouldn’t?
The rental of his one room Toa Payoh flat is paid for by a temple and he has one meal a day delivered over to his squalid home, while his dialysis treatment is covered by Ministry of Health and National Kidney subsidies medical.
Samaritans also help him sporadically with groceries and appeals with agencies.
The 59-year old does not have any children, or family members whom he can rely on. He lost contact with his only brother decades ago.
The MSF needs to explain its rationale for using the prevailing Public Assistance rate for rejecting someone like the resident above, who is visually handicapped and who cannot earn any other income because of his medical condition.
Our citizens need to lead dignified lives.
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