Civil servants’ dependents
Oral Reply to Parliamentary Question on civil servants’ dependents
Parliamentary Sitting Date: 21 April 2008
Mr Sin Boon Ann: To ask the Prime Minister in light of the growing number of dependants who are reaching the age of majority who are still reliant on family support for various reasons, whether the Government will consider raising the age of civil servants’ dependants from 18 to 21 years of age.
Oral Reply (for the Prime Minister) by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Minister in charge of the Civil Service and Minister for Defence:
Civil Service benefits are part of the contractual terms of service agreed to between employer and employee. The benefits are provided primarily for the officer. In the case of medical benefits, we also have provisions for the spouse and dependent children of a civil servant to receive subsidies. Dependent children are defined as unmarried children below the age of 18 years old.
All new civil servants join on the prevailing Medisave-cum-Subsidised Outpatient (MSO) Scheme, which was introduced in 1994. Today, almost 7 in 10 civil servants are on the MSO Scheme. The other 3 in 10 officers are on old schemes. Under the MSO scheme, every officer, regardless of marital status, number of children or age of children, receives the same 1% additional contribution on the officer’s salary into the officer’s Medisave account every month. The officer also receives outpatient subsidies capped at $350 annually which can also be used by the officer’s spouse and children. The unused balance of the $350 outpatient subsidy will be credited into the officer’s Medisave account at the end of each year. The officer can make use of the amount credited into the officer’s Medisave to pay for medical bills or buy medical insurance for the officer and the officer’s family members, including children above age 18, subject to CPF rules on the use of Medisave. For these officers, therefore, raising the age limit for dependent children from 18 to 21 years old will have little practical impact. However, raising the age limit will benefit officers who had decided in 1994 to remain on the old medical schemes. But we should not be enhancing the attractiveness of these old schemes in comparison to the prevailing MSO scheme.