We thank Mr Lim Teck Koon for his letter, “Include smoking cessation as a criterion for ComCare help” (Jan 17).
ComCare is a key part of our social safety net. It supports low-income households that require help with their basic living expenses.
The financial assistance provided under ComCare caters for basic living needs, which does not cover items such as expenditure on cigarettes.
Cash assistance provides households with the flexibility to meet their specific needs, including choice of groceries and household goods. Clients ultimately decide how they wish to spend the cash assistance to meet their living expenses.
Besides administering ComCare support, our social service offices (SSOs) work alongside other agencies to ensure that low-income households receive help for their various needs.
SSOs may also jointly develop action plans with ComCare households. These include plans on managing expenses prudently and on adopting a healthy lifestyle. SSOs may make referrals to healthcare institutions for help with smoking cessation where necessary.
SSOs will review ComCare households’ progress on the action plans if they return to extend their financial assistance.
Kong Kum Peck
Director, ComCare and Social Support Division
Ministry of Social and Family Development