Written Answer by Minister of Manpower Mrs Josephine Teo to PQ on Workfare eligibility criteria
NOTICE PAPER NO. 163 OF 2020 FOR THE SITTING ON 5 JANUARY 2021
QUESTION NO. 27 FOR WRITTEN ANSWER TO QUESTIONS FOR ORAL ANSWER NOT ANSWERED BY END OF QUESTION TIME
MP: Ms Carrie Tan
To ask the Minister for Manpower (a) what is the rationale for introducing spousal income instead of per capita income criterion in eligibility assessment for Workfare Income Supplement (WIS); and (b) whether exceptions can be made for individuals who are estranged from their spouses, for their incomes to be considered independently, with supporting documents from the relevant agencies such as family service centres or marital counsellors.
1. The Workfare Income Supplement scheme encourages Singaporeans who earn lower wages and have less family support to work regularly and build up their CPF savings. In 2013, the assessable income of a potential recipient’s spouse and the total number of properties owned by the potential recipient and their spouse, were introduced as qualifying criteria. This helps to ensure that Workfare provides targeted support to lower-wage workers with limited household wealth. To qualify for Workfare, the assessable income of the individual’s spouse cannot exceed $70,000, which is significantly above the median assessable income.
2. We appreciate that there are genuine cases of spousal estrangement. Appeals are considered on a case-by-case basis and exceptions have been made.