SINGAPORE - Singaporeans with severe disabilities who require long-term institutional care will be supported by a number of new initiatives from 2020, said Senior Minister of State for Law and Health Edwin Tong.
He was responding to a question from Mr Christopher de Souza (Holland-Bukit Timah GRC) in Parliament on Tuesday (Nov 20).
Severe disabilities are defined as the inability to perform at least three of six activities of daily living (ADLs) independently. These are washing, dressing, feeding oneself, using the toilet, moving around indoors and getting from the bed to a chair or vice versa.
Mr de Souza had asked what safety nets there were for severely disabled Singaporeans after they have finished receiving the maximum of six years of payouts under ElderShield.
One such initiative is CareShield Life, a new long-term insurance scheme which will provide monthly cash payouts of at least $600 to Singaporeans for as long as they remain severely disabled.
It will provide lifetime coverage for all Singaporeans born in 1980 or after, regardless of whether they have pre-existing disabilities.
For those born in 1979 or earlier, they can opt to join CareShield Life if they are not currently severely disabled.
From 2020, severely disabled Singaporeans older than 30, including those who have finished their ElderShield payouts, will also be able to withdraw up to $200 a month from their own or their spouse's Medisave account.
The Ministry of Health will also introduce ElderFund, a new discretionary assistance scheme that will provide up to $250 monthly for low-income Singaporeans who also have severe disabilities and are unable to join CareShield Life, have low MediSave balances, or face other financial difficulties in their long-term care needs.
Currently, the safety nets available to Singaporeans with severe disabilities include government subsidies and assistance schemes, insurance schemes such as ElderShield, Central Provident Fund Life payouts, and personal savings.
Singaporeans can receive government subsidies of up to 75 per cent of nursing home costs and can also tap MediFund for additional financial assistance.
Nursing homes operated by voluntary welfare organisations may also provide further support to residents through charitable donations.