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Thursday, July 25, 2024


New Packages to Better Support ComLink+ Families That Do Their Part to Progress in Life


Strong families are the foundation of a strong society. The Forward Singapore report had indicated a commitment to strengthen support for lower-income families in their journey towards stability, self-reliance and social mobility. The Government will do this through ComLink+, by providing ComLink+ families with:

  1. Dedicated Family Coaches who will work with each family to co-develop customised action plans that are tailored to each family’s needs, coach and motivate them towards achieving their goals, and act as a single point of contact to help them better navigate social support services. 
  2. Additional support tied to action plans that each family co-develops with their Family Coach. Details of the additional support are provided below.

Progress Packages for ComLink+ Families

  1. MSF will introduce progress packages to recognise and supplement families’ efforts. ComLink+ families that take active steps to improve their circumstances will receive financial top-ups through the progress packages. 
  2. For a start, we will introduce four packages that focus on ComLink+ families’ key needs and aspirations. These will be rolled out progressively from the second half of 2024 and trialled for three years to assess their effectiveness before potential scale-up. 
    • Preschool education. The early years are crucial for children’s learning and development. Local research shows that children who attended preschool from age 3 were less likely to require additional learning support in primary school. However, preschool enrolment and attendance rates of lower-income children are lower than their peers, especially at ages 3 to 4. We will introduce a package funded by a donor, to provide a one-off Child Development Account (CDA) top-up of $500 to ComLink+ families for each child who is enrolled in preschool in the year that they turn 3. Families will also receive CDA top-ups of $200 for every quarter that the child attends preschool regularly. This package will encourage families to prioritise their children’s preschool education, to help improve their school readiness and future educational outcomes. 
    • Stable employment. Some ComLink+ families have adults who can work but are unemployed, in lower wage roles, or working in jobs with fluctuating incomes. Some may rely on a single breadwinner to make ends meet. To build financial stability and resilience, it is important for ComLink+ families to have a stable income and to increase their income as a household. This package will encourage more adults in ComLink+ families to enter and stay in CPF-paying jobs paying at least $1,400/month. Should they fulfil this requirement, each adult will receive financial top-ups of between $450 to $550 in a combination of cash and CPF payouts for every quarter of sustained employment (up to a limit of $30,000 in total payouts across both the employment and savings packages). Higher top-ups will be given when two adults in the household work. A maximum of two working adults per family can benefit from this package. This package will help families to build up their finances for their long-term goals such as buying a flat or saving up for retirement, and to better withstand unexpected setbacks in life (e.g., retrenchment, health issues). 
    • Improving financial stability through debt clearance. With less disposable income and savings, lower-income families are more susceptible to falling into debt or arrears, especially if they encounter unexpected setbacks or have inherited debt. Even a relatively small debt can severely impact lower-income families financially, psychologically and emotionally, affecting their ability to resolve their debts and work towards long-term goals. To help ComLink+ families with verifiable debt[1] overcome such obstacles as they take steps to repay their debt, we will introduce a package that is fully funded by donors to match families’ repayments to their creditors on a one-to-one basis, for repayment of debts of up to $5,000 (i.e., donor-matched repayments of up to $2,500). To be eligible, families must also not be receiving ComCare assistance, as this would usually indicate that the family has not attained financial stability in meeting their basic needs. This support will help to free up some of the families’ mental bandwidth, enabling them to focus on long-term goals, and build financial resilience. Families can benefit only once from this package. 
    • Saving for home ownership. Many ComLink+ families aspire to purchase their own flat as part of their social mobility journey. To provide families with a leg-up as they build up their savings for flat purchase, we will introduce a package jointly funded by a donor and the Government. This package will supplement every dollar of families’ voluntary contributions to their CPF with a $2 top-up to their CPF Ordinary Account (up to a limit of $30,000 in total payouts across the employment and savings packages). This will help families to save up more quickly for their flat purchase and give them a better chance of fulfilling this aspiration. 
  1. Families must fulfil the required action and meet the eligibility conditions for each package in order to receive the corresponding financial top-up (see Annex A for details on the conditions and top-ups for each package). The financial top-ups will be provided for as long as the family remains eligible for and fulfil the requirements of the packages, or until the family reaches the payout limit specified for each package, whichever is earlier. 
  2. Collectively, the support from Family Coaches and progress packages aim to help ComLink+ families to build and strengthen their foundation to achieve stability, self-reliance, and ultimately social mobility. It will also build on various efforts by community organisations to support families in areas such as children’s education, debt clearance, and building up of savings. ComLink+ as a Whole-of-Society Effort
  3. ComLink+ is a whole-of-society effort, led by the Government but implemented in partnership with the community. Many have stepped forward to volunteer their time, contribute financially, or offer other forms of support to ComLink+ families. Currently, approximately 170 organisations and individuals are partnering SSOs to support ComLink+ families (see Annex B). In particular, DBS is coming in as an anchor partner to help uplift the lives and livelihoods of ComLink+ families. Beyond funding the progress packages on preschool education and savings, the bank will also be stepping up its volunteer participation to bolster support for these families. Another partner, Singapore Pools, will be helping to fund part of the progress package on debt clearance. We invite more corporates and foundations to step forward to contribute to ComLink+, and ask individuals to consider volunteering as befrienders to journey with ComLink+ families. Together, we can uplift ComLink+ families and ensure that no one is left behind.

[1] Refers to debt owed to licensed companies and organisations that can be verified and for which repayments can be tracked. Informal debts, such as those owed to family and friends, as well as debts owed to unlicensed moneylenders, are not covered.

Source: MSF

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