Over $33m in aid given to disabled pioneers

Mr Lian has a maid who sees to all his daily needs such as bathing and eating. Since last August, he has been receiving $100 a month from the Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme.
Mr Lian has a maid who sees to all his daily needs such as bathing and eating. Since last August, he has been receiving $100 a month from the Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme.PHOTO: LIM YONG TECK FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

As of January this year, more than $33 million has been given out to seniors under the Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme.

Introduced in September 2014, the scheme, which is part of the Pioneer Generation Package, gives elderly citizens with moderate to severe functional disability cash to help them meet expenses such as home care services, medical bills and even the cost of hiring a maid.

Mr Kelvin Lim, chief of the social care division at the Agency for Integrated Care, told The Straits Times that over 27,000 disabled pioneers have benefited from the scheme, which gives them $100 monthly for life, to offset their care expenses.

One beneficiary is 78-year-old Lian York Chong, who suffers from Parkinson's, stroke and renal failure. Three times a week, the retiree is wheeled to St Luke's Eldercare centre in Tampines Street 11 by his maid for rehabilitation exercises.

Due to his moderate disability, Mr Lian's 26-year-old Indonesian helper sees to all his daily needs such as bathing and eating. Since last August, he has been receiving $100 a month from the scheme. He uses the cash to pay for therapy and the helper's monthly levy of $175.

"The money is helpful," said Mr Lian, who was once a chief cook. "Everything is very expensive. Even so, I don't want to ask for more help because I am already old..."

To qualify, seniors must have been assessed by a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or occupational therapist to need permanent help with at least three of six daily activities: bathing, dressing, eating, using the toilet, moving from their bed to a chair, and moving on a level surface.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2016, with the headline 'Over $33m in aid given to disabled pioneers'. Print Edition | Subscribe