For senior citizens

Singaporeans aged 65 and above will benefit from a new feature of the social security system, the Silver Support scheme.

Like Workfare, the scheme aims to support the bottom 20 to 30 per cent of such Singaporeans.

"What Silver Support aims to do is to supplement incomes in a modest but meaningful way," said Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

"It should not substitute for other sources of income."

Those who are eligible for the scheme will get quarterly cash payouts ranging from $300 to $750.

An average recipient will get $600 every three months.

The amount depends on how much they have earned during their working lives, their household income and what type of housing they live in.

No application is needed. Those who qualify will be notified.

This will cost the Government about $350 million in the first year.

It is expected to be implemented in the first quarter of next year and 150,000 seniors are expected to benefit.

In the interim, the Government will introduce the GST Voucher (GSTV) - Seniors' Bonus this year. Those aged 55 and above will get up to $600 to help with daily expenses.

Those aged 65 and above and live in Housing Board flats will get $900.

Older Singaporeans will also benefit from changes in the CPF scheme.

It will be a nice supplement to the pocket money that I receive from my children. I wouldn't have to scrimp and save too much. I think the amount is just right. Too little and people will complain, too much and people might get too reliant and spend it on cigarettes and alcohol.

- Mr Lee Teck Seng, 76, part-time cleaner

I reckon we can see the Silver Support Scheme as providing yet another layer of safety net to catch poor, low-income seniors. Of course, there is always room for more. My view is that $200 a month can go some way towards ensuring that low-income seniors can enjoy a better standard of living. It could also form a large proportion of an already low disposable income. For instance, $200 is 25 per cent of $800.

- Associate Professor Tan Ern Ser, NUS sociologist