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Sad to hear of how low-income families must struggle to make ends meet, while the super-rich continue spending like no one's business. The income gap is steadily widening......

Eligible Singaporeans get first instalment of workfare bonus
Posted: 17 May 2011 1636 hrs

SINGAPORE: Some 400,000 low-income Singaporeans will get the Workfare Special Bonus this year. Many would have received the first of four instalments on Sunday.

Manpower Minister Gan Kim Yong said the bonus, paid fully in cash, is to help low-income Singaporeans cope with the rising cost of living and provide them with an additional incentive to work.

The Workfare Special Bonus is expected to cost the government about S$450 million over three years, and is part of the S$3.2 billion Grow & Share Package announced in this year's Budget.

Rabiah Konson, 45, cycles to work every day to save on transport cost. What she saves goes to pay for her children's transport expenses.

Surviving on a combined monthly salary of about S$2,300, she and her husband struggle to make ends meet.

So, she said the S$462 she will receive in cash under the Workfare Special Bonus comes at a good time.

She said: "My son intends to go to university....after this third year at Millennia Institute, complete (his) NS (National Service), he wants to go to university. So, whatever the government gives me - GST (Offset) money, Grow & Share money, whatever extra money, I keep for my son, for his education."

Mr Sivakumar Othrapathy, a father to two teenage boys and the family's sole bread winner, also received the bonus.

The 59-year-old's salary dropped by almost half about six years ago. This was after he switched his career in the hotel industry to become a security officer.

While the change means more family time, with his S$1,300-a-month salary, he finds it hard to keep up with the rising cost of living. He said the S$524 he gets from the Workfare Special Bonus is welcome relief. He hopes more can be done to help those in a similar situation as him.

- CNA/ir