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Currently, when an individual submits an SFC claim, payments from SSG may be made to either the training provider or the individual. With the change, SFC payments will be disbursed directly to only training providers with effect from 19 May 2017.
Training providers that offer SFC-eligible courses will collect net fees from individuals, after offsetting the SFC that will be used. The change to the claims process will therefore not inconvenience learners. At the same time, by channelling the SFC through training providers, the risk of fraudulent claims will be significantly reduced.
SSG will continue to make an exception for selected overseas massive open online courses (MOOC) where SFC payments to these training providers are currently unavailable. Individuals who sign up for such programmes will be required to provide supporting payment documents as part of the claims submission process.
The change resulted from SSG uncovering more than 4,400 individuals submitting false SFC claims in end January 2017. A process review committee, comprising SSG board members, was formed to review the policies and procedures relating to training grants.
SSG has also issued letters to recover monies from the individuals involved. As of 25 April 2017, more than 85% of these individuals have returned the monies or taken steps to return the monies.
Ng Cher Pong, chief executive of SSG said: “Drawing from our experience in implementing the SFC over the past one year, we will continue to review and improve our policies and procedures, while keeping the claims process user-friendly to encourage Singaporeans to use their SkillsFuture Credit.”
“For individuals and organisations that abuse the SkillsFuture Credit, we take a stern view and will not hesitate to act against the parties involved,” he added.
Final letters of demand will be sent to all the remaining individuals who have not returned the monies. Failure to do so will lead to SSG taking the appropriate legal actions against them.
An individual who provides false information to SSG in relation to their application may be prosecuted under Section 58 of the SkillsFuture Singapore Agency Act 2016 and be liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $10,000 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or to both.
Photo / 123RF