Singapore Budget 2014: Over 50,000 special needs children and those with disabilities to get educational and transport subsidies

More than 50,000 children with special needs and people with disabilities will soon receive more help from the Government to the tune of $56 million a year, said Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Low Yen Ling on Thursday, Marc
More than 50,000 children with special needs and people with disabilities will soon receive more help from the Government to the tune of $56 million a year, said Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Low Yen Ling on Thursday, March 13, 2014, in Parliament. -- ST FILE PHOTO: NURIA LING

More than 50,000 children with special needs and people with disabilities will soon receive more help from the Government to the tune of $56 million a year, said Parliamentary Secretary for Social and Family Development Low Yen Ling on Thursday in Parliament.

Of this sum, $32 million will go to fund subsidies provided under the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (Eipic).

The other $24 million will go to defraying the transport costs of the disabled who either take public transport, special transport services or taxis.

Eipic provides educational and therapy services for those aged six years and below who are at risk of having developmental issues.

From October, all Singaporean children enrolled in it will receive a $500 base subsidy, up from the current $300.

On top of that, more families will be eligible for additional subsidies as the per capita income cap will be raised from $1,500 to $3,000.

This means a further subsidy of between 10 and 75 per cent, and eight in 10 households with these children will be covered.

The disabled who take the bus or train will get a 25 per cent discount on fares and are eligible for a monthly concession pass from July 6. This was announced in January.

Second, those with limited mobility who use special transport services run by voluntary welfare organisations to get to special education schools, day activity centres and sheltered workshops will be eligible for transport subsidies from July 1. Those with per capita income of $2,600 and below can get subsidies of between 30 to 80 per cent, depending on their income levels.

Third, those who rely on taxis to go to school or work will also get a leg up in defraying their transport expenses.

From October, the government will subsidise up to half of taxi fares for those who are unable to take public transport or other transport services to work or school.

Those with $1,800 per capita income and below will have their fares subsidised from between 10 to 50 per cent.

"Transport is a key enabler that widens opportunities, improves chances for jobs and creates new opportunities," said Ms Low.

"Access to affordable transport increases their chances of being plugged into society and therefore the Government is making significant moves to lower the transport costs of those with disabilities.

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