SINGAPORE - Home caregivers will enjoy more financial relief from October, when the $200 Home Caregiving Grant takes effect, replacing the $120 Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) Grant.
They will also benefit from a shorter waiting period for respite care, since a pilot by the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) began in April.
Senior Minister of State for Health Edwin Tong outlined these initiatives on Wednesday (Sept 25) which were first announced as part of the Caregiver Support Action Plan announced by the Ministry of Health (MOH) during February's Budget debate.
Mr Tong was speaking on the sidelines of a visit to St Luke's ElderCare in Pandan Gardens.
The Home Caregiving Grant, which comes into effect on Oct 1, will be a monthly cash payout. Beneficiaries will have more flexibility to defray caregiving expenses such as hiring a maid, home and community-based services, and transportation to medical appointments.
Those who are already receiving the FDW Grant will be automatically enrolled onto the Home Caregiving Grant, while new applicants can start submitting applications from Oct 1.
The grant will be paid to eligible recipients, who can also choose to nominate a caregiver to receive it.
Recipients must meet certain criteria to qualify for the grant. They need to:
- Always require some assistance with at least three activities of daily living;
- Have been means-tested to have per capita household monthly income that is $2,800 or less, or belong to a household with no income and living in a residence with an annual value that is $13,000 or less.
- Be Singaporean, or a permanent resident with a parent, child or spouse who is a Singaporean; and
- Not living in a residential long-term care institution such as a nursing home.
Besides financial help, caregivers will also now have access to the Go Respite pilot.
The average activation time for those on the pre-enrolment system is about a week for centres and two weeks for nursing homes, compared to up to four weeks for those not on the pilot.
Close to 150 applications have been received, and over 10 per cent of the applicants have used the respite care services.
There are 20 participating senior care centres and 26 nursing homes.
Caregivers registered under Go Respite will be required to complete some administrative processes in advance to reduce activation time. These include application processes related to the assessment of eligibility for subsidies, selection of suitable service providers, and allowing service providers to briefly assess care recipient's medical conditions. Pre-enrolment is valid for two years once completed.
To enable caregivers and seniors to better access information and obtain referrals to services and grants, MOH will expand AIC Link counters beyond the current eight locations at acute and community hospitals and AIC's office in Maxwell Road, to selected Silver Generation Office Satellite Offices within the community.
AIC Link @ Toa Payoh just started operations this month and three more AIC Links in Choa Chu Kang, Nee Soon and Pasir Ris will open by the end of the year.
Caregiver support initiatives under the Action Plan have been rolled out progressively over the course of the year and more initiatives are expected in the coming months.