Building a stronger social safety net for the middle class

Over the weekend, I met with a former civil servant residing in Boon Lay. 

A is facing a financially stressful time as a result of her pregnancy bills and pandemic-induced work stress. The latter resulted in her falling into depression, and eventually having to leave her job in the civil service. 

Not only is she jobless, A has to deal with her parent’s medical bills and the costs of bringing up her young child. In her search for financial help, she realises that she does not qualify for government assistance given the type of flat she resides in. 

One thing that strikes me from this incident is that the middle-class livelihood is vulnerable to changes in circumstances, and our current social schemes are too rigid in determining who qualifies for aid and who does not. In other words, apparently the middle-class have limited social security when they need it the most. 

The PSP has advocated for a stronger social safety net for those who have fallen on hard times. In my earlier Budget speeches, I had called for the government to look at how healthcare costs can be reduced, especially at the current rate of healthcare inflation. This is so that the middle-class like A are not unnecessarily burdened by excessive healthcare costs.

I have also advocated that the government spends $2.6 billion per annum to pay for the MediShield and CareShield premiums of Singaporeans to help them build retirement adequacy. Given that MediShield premiums are going up by as much as 35% this year, a family of 4 could see their CPF savings reduced by as much as $246,000 if the amounts paid on such premiums were to grow at 4% per year.

For immediate relief, I offered her a little financial help from the PSCF. There are no easy answers to her predicament and more assistance could be given from the government for those who have fallen through the cracks.

Singaporeans deserve better.

For Country For People

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