Sunday, November 10, 2013

Biggest leap in social assistance help was in short-term payouts, which grew to $24.5m

Oct 20, 2013

Handouts for the poor top $100m mark

By Radha Basu Senior Correspondent

Social assistance payments to the poor crossed the $100 million mark for the first time to reach $102.4million in the last financial year ending in March.

That was a nearly 45 per cent jump from the previous year and more than double the $44.5million given out five years ago.

The money came from the Community Care (ComCare) Endowment Fund, set up by the Government in 2005 to help needy families get back on their feet. Overall, 33,266 families and individuals were helped last year, up from 19,072 five years ago.

ComCare provides three broad types of assistance: long-term help, largely for the elderly poor; medium- and shorter-term help for those facing crises, such as illness or retrenchment; and childcare, kindergarten and infant care subsidies for children.

[Quick computation.
$102.4m divided by 33,266 families/individuals = $3078. For the whole year. This is up from about $2300 average help per family/individual 5 years ago. 

While more are helped, and more is given, $3100 for a whole year means that the help is likely episodic, or if long-term is it very low. $3100 over 12 months, is less than $300.]

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