Budget 2013: What will be in it for me?


Miss Nurulasyiqah Mohammad Taha, 29, works at the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore. The civil servant suffers from spinal muscular atrophy that results in limited limb movement. She makes her way around using a motorised wheelchair.

Home: She lives in a five-room flat in Pasir Ris with her younger brother and parents, who own the flat.

Family income: $6,000 a month

My biggest worry now is: Travelling costs. It has become more expensive in the past few years. Whenever it rains, I have to take a London cab or a wheelchair-accessible van from my office to the train station, and from the station back home. It costs about $25 to $35 a trip. I also need help with care-giving costs as I have to hire a maid to help with my daily living needs such as dressing and bathing.

The Government should: It should help to defray the transport costs of the disabled. We should not be penalised for having a disability by having to bear additional expenses on top of the rising cost of living.

I hope the Budget will: A subsidy from the Land Transport Authority Cares Fund pays partially for the cab fares of physically disabled working adults and students who come from low-income families. This taxi subsidy is limited to trips taken to and from workplaces and schools, and should not be so. The disabled also deserve to go out and enjoy an active social life.

The subsidy should also be broadened to apply to trips taken on other vehicles, not just taxis.

In Budget 2012

During last year's Budget, about $1.7 million was handed out by the Government as part of its effort to get more disabled people to work. In particular, the Special Employment Credit (SEC) was extended to employers who hire people who have graduated from special education schools, regardless of their ages. The Workfare Income Supplement was also extended to all workers who graduated from special education schools, even if they are below the age of 35.

Separately, the Handicapped Earned Income Tax Relief was doubled for about 1,000 disabled workers of all ages, effective from income earned last year. This means their new tax reliefs are between $4,000 and $12,000.

The government also said it would expand the capacity of homes and day-activity centres and make the services more affordable.

For more news and analysis on Singapore Budget 2013, click here for ST's Big Story coverage.