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Joanna Seow
Monday, Jun 16, 2014

Singapore

Pioneer Generation Package letters from today

The Straits Times | Joanna Seow | Monday, Jun 16, 2014

Logo of the Pioneer Generation package, announced in Budget 2014. The package will help senior citizens pay for their Medishield Life premiums and get subsidies for outpatient treatments.

SINGAPOREANS who qualify for the Pioneer Generation Package will receive letters from the Government starting today, with information on the lifetime benefits they will receive.

The first perk under the $8 billion package is Medisave top-ups, which will be automatically credited into their Medisave accounts from next month.

Details on what to do if people do not have an account will be in this week's letter.

Around $210 million in top-ups will be given out this year to pioneers - Singaporeans who are 65 and older this year and who became citizens before 1987, said the Ministry of Finance yesterday.

More details can be found at the website www.pioneers.sg

The ministry also named members of an appeals panel which has been formed to look into cases of people who just missed out on getting citizenship before the cut-off for the pioneer generation.

This could include those who have lived in Singapore since the early years and demonstrated clear efforts to sink roots here.

The ministry noted that when it came to the cut-off for age, the Government had "already adopted an inclusive approach by setting the age threshold at those who were 16 years old and above in 1965, younger than adulthood".

The 10-member panel is chaired by Mr Timothy James de Souza, a member of the People's Association Board and the Presidential Council for Minority Rights. He is also a trustee of the Eurasian Association.

The deputy chairman is Mr James Koh Cher Siang, chairman of the Housing Board and the governing board of the Mechanobiology Institute Singapore.

The Government has been trying to help people better understand its assistance schemes.

Although a survey it did of 1,500 Singaporeans in March found that seven in 10 had heard of the Pioneer Generation Package, four in 10 of those who knew about the scheme did not know its benefits.

Over the weekend, some 170 women grassroots leaders received training so that they can explain policies like the package to heartlanders, especially the elderly.

At one of the training sessions yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Health and Manpower Amy Khor briefed volunteers on the key messages and intent of the Pioneer Generation Package, as well as the national health insurance scheme MediShield Life.

"(The pioneer) generation of Singaporeans tends to be less connected to developments around them, mainly because of age, language barriers, or lack of media awareness, as well as lower levels of education," said Dr Khor, who is also co-chair of the Pioneer Generation Package Taskforce.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event at The Grassroots Club in Yio Chu Kang, she added that it was useful to work with grassroots volunteers "because they are familiar with the residents so we hope they can reach out to the pioneers and no one will be left out".

joseow@sph.com.sg


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