SINGAPORE: From 7 May to 10 June, low-income union members can apply for S$3 million worth of discount vouchers to help them stretch their dollars on daily basic necessities.
National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) said it has revised the income eligibility criteria for the U Stretch Vouchers Programme to benefit more members in the lowest 20th percentile of household income.
Previously, the programme was open to those with a gross household income limit of S$2,200, or per capita income limit of S$600.
The labour movement has revised the criteria upwards to a gross household income limit of S$2,800, or per capita income limit of S$725.
For those without dependents, their monthly gross personal income must not exceed S$1,400.
Applicants must be union members for at least six months at the point of application.
It aims to reach out to 30,000 low-income union members.
NTUC's Care and Share Director, Mr Zainal Bin Sapari said: "Our economic outlook is still uncertain given the current global economic climate. Coupled with pressures of inflation and rising cost of living, timely reviews have to be made so that we continue to remain relevant to those who need our assistance.
"With the latest change in our income eligibility criteria, we hope to reach out to more low-income members, and help lessen their burden, especially on their daily essentials."
45-year-old Lai See Yong, who earns S$2,700 monthly and is the sole-breadwinner of a family of four, is now eligible for the U Care assistance programmes under the newly revised income criteria.
"With the increase in cost of living, the days get tougher as there is only my income to sustain the expenditures of a whole family. I am really grateful that I can now apply for the assistance programmes under U Care Fund, as I know they will be helpful in defraying some of my daily living expenses," Mr Lai said.
Successful applicants will each receive a booklet of 40 vouchers worth S$100 in total value, for use at four of NTUC Social Enterprises.
Each voucher provides the union members a S$2.50 discount off every S$5 purchase of groceries at the NTUC FairPrice supermarkets; medication or health-related items at NTUC Unity pharmacies and NTUC Unity Denticare clinics; meals at NTUC Foodfare food courts; and day care services at NTUC Eldercare centres.
These vouchers will be valid for seven months beginning 1 August 2012 to 28 February 2013.