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A key purpose of our social security system has always been to support our lower wage workers and ensure they do not get left behind, even with rapid change. This includes supporting them with the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) scheme.
Introduced in 2007, the Workfare encourages eligible workers to work and build up their retirement savings by providing them with cash payments and additional CPF contributions. Workfare is targeted at lower-wage workers with lesser household support, with more benefits for older workers.
Here's a look at how 2 Singaporeans have benefitted from Workfare:
Mdm Goh Geok Kee, Employee
Mdm Goh Geok Kee (“Auntie Geok”) is 69-year-old this year and has been working as a cleaner for more than 10 years. As long as she remains fit and healthy, she would like to continue working.
Auntie Geok shared that she is happy to be receiving Workfare. The Workfare payments, along with the GSTV-Cash and U-Save rebates, help her and her family to meet their daily household expenses. Currently, more than 90% of Workfare recipients benefit from GSTV-Cash and U-Save rebates.
Auntie Geok and her family also have the CHAS Blue card, which provides them with highly subsidised medical and dental services at CHAS clinics. Auntie Geok is grateful that Workfare and other Government subsidies for older workers like her amount to significant support for her and her family. In her own words, “这边一点，那边一点, 加起来其实很多!” (here a bit, there a bit, Government support actually adds up to a lot!).
Mr Sutharalingam S/O Ramalingam, Self-Employed
Mr Sutharalingam has been a taxi driver for the past 24 years. The 67-year-old enjoys his job as one of the perks of being a taxi driver is knowing where to go for delicious food.
As a self-employed Singaporean, Mr Sutharalingam receives an annual Workfare payment after declaring his annual income and making contribution to his MediSave Account. He receives 10% of his Workfare payment in cash, which he uses on living expenses, while the rest goes to his MediSave Account to help self-employed workers like him save for medical needs.
“I’m very happy with the Workfare payment. It’s good enough as it helps us a lot, especially seniors who are not earning a lot of money. The payment in MediSave will also be useful when I need to withdraw the money for my medical bills,” says Mr Sutharalingam.
Mr Sutharalingam, who is single and lives in a fully-paid three-room HDB flat, also receives benefits under the Merdeka Generation Package. These benefits include MediSave top-ups, subsidies at CHAS clinics and additional MediShield Life premium subsidies, which provide seniors like him with better assurance over healthcare costs.
From 2023, the WIS scheme will be enhanced to help more Singaporeans better cope with expenses and start saving early for their retirement. Interested to know if you or some one you know might be eligible for the scheme? More details can be found here!
Information in the article is accurate as of date of publication.