The population of senior citizens in Singapore is growing faster than ever and this trend is projected to continue. Developed countries like Japan and Singapore are preparing for the “Silver Tsunami” by expanding healthcare capacity and implementing policies to ensure the economy remains vibrant and robust.
In Singapore, the government has put in place numerous schemes to support our seniors in their silver years. These schemes are administered by various government departments, such as the Ministry of Health and Central Provident Board.
Here is an overview of the government care schemes provided for seniors that you can tap on to support your aged loved ones to live our their golden years with a peace of mind.
#1 Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS)
CHAS is a tiered subsidy scheme which provides lower and middle-income households with subsidies for medical and dental care at participating General Practitioner (GP) and dental clinics, many of which are located conveniently in the heartlands. The subsidy tier depends on the average household monthly income per capita. If your household has no income, the subsidy tier will be tied to the annual value of your home, as assessed by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore.
However, seniors who qualify for the Pioneer Generation Package will enjoy enhanced CHAS benefits, regardless of their household income.
|Criteria for Each Scheme||CHAS Blue||CHAS Orange||CHAS for Pioneer Generation|
|Household monthly income per person (for households with income)||$1,100 and below||$1,101 – $1,800||–|
|Annual value of home (for households with no income)||$13,000 and below||$13001 – $21,000||–|
To apply, you can visit the CHAS website, or go to any public hospital, polyclinic, Community Centre (CC) or Community Development Council (CDC).
#2 Pioneer Generation Package (PGP)
The $8 billion Pioneer Generation Package was the centerpiece of the Singapore Budget 2014. It is a healthcare fund for the Pioneer Generation, which consists of Singaporeans born in 1949 and obtained Singapore citizenship by 31 December 1986. About 450,000 people qualify and will enjoy outpatient care subsidies, MediShield Life and Medisave top-ups, and disability assistance.
Here is an overview of what they receive:
– Special subsidies at CHAS GP and dental clinics
– Additional 50% off subsidised services and medication at polyclinics and specialist outpatient care in public hospitals
– Special subsidies for MediShield Life premiums
– Annual Medisave top-ups ranging from $200 to $800 annually for life. Again, the top-ups are tiered – the older you are, the more you get.
– $1,200 cash a year for those under the Disability Assistance Scheme.
#3 Medisave Top-ups
Singaporean seniors do not fall under the Pioneer Generation will receive Medisave top-ups of $100 to $200 annually until 2018. Medisave can be used to pay for your personal or immediate family’s hospitalisation, day surgery and specific outpatient expenses in any hospital in Singapore.
If you are already receiving GST Voucher – Cash or GST Voucher – Medisave, there is no need to sign up. Otherwise, you can apply through any Community Centre, Social Service Office (SSO), CPF Service Centre, or the GST Voucher website.
#4 Flexi-Medisave Scheme
This scheme allows seniors to use up to $200 of their Medisave a year, for outpatient medical treatments at CHAS-registered public sector specialist outpatient clinics (SOCs), GPs and polyclinics.
#5 MediShield Life Premium Subsidies
MediShield Life is a basic health insurance plan that pays for large hospital bills and specific outpatient treatments, and is extended to Singaporeans and PRs for life. The government subsidises all senior citizens’ MediShield Life Premiums by up to 50 per cent for lower- and middle-income households.
For seniors who are unable to afford MediShield Life premiums even after subsidies, they will receive additional support.
No application is required for this, as the subsidies will be distributed based on existing information in the Government databases. To check or update your household information used to calculate your Premium Subsidies, you can check the Household Check e-Service.
#6 Medifund Silver
Targeted towards the needy elderly, Medifund Silver helps seniors who require financial support after exhausting their finances on their medical bills. Medifund assistance can be sought through consultation with medical social workers from Medifund-approved institutions.
Day-to-Day Senior Care
#7 Intermediate and Long Term Care (ILTC) subsidies
ILTC subsidies extend not just to seniors, and also to people who need further care and treatment after being discharged from the hospital as well as people who are frail and require day-to-day assistance.
Getting such health and social care can be very expensive over the long term, and subsidies of up to 80% for home care and 75% for residential services (e.g. nursing homes), are in place to help offset these bills. Again, the subsidies are tiered according to monthly household income per person, and vary according to the type of care required.
#8 Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE)
This scheme distributes subsidies of up to 95% for seniors to install home improvement items such as grab bars, slip-resistant bathroom floors and ramps to make it more elder-friendly. You can apply for EASE via HDB e-Services, through your phone with [email protected], or visit the HDB Branch that administers your estate.
#9 Foreign domestic worker (FDW) levy concession
Seniors who wish to hire a FDW, or for people who wish to hire a FDW to care for a family member staying with them who requiring daily assistance, may be eligible for a lower levy rate of $60 per month. No application is required, as the concession will automatically apply to all seniors aged 65 and above. If you are hiring a FDW for your family member, at least one of you has to be a Singapore citizen, while the other needs to be a PR to qualify for the levy concession.
Cash Payouts for Disability and Mobility Support
ElderShield is a severe disability insurance scheme which insures you for long-term care in your old age. The scheme provides monthly cash payouts to help pay for day-to-day expenses when caring for a severely-disabled person.
If you are a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident with a Medisave account, you are automatically enrolled in ElderShield at the age of 40, unless you opt-out of the scheme.
#11 Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly (IDAPE)
For seniors who were not eligible to join ElderShield when it was launched, IDAPE provides a cash payout of up to $250 a month for up to 6 years.
#12 Seniors’ Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF)
Primarily providing support for our seniors to help them remain mobile and live independently, this fund provides financial support to purchase assistive devices (e.g. wheelchairs, hearing aids), home healthcare items (e.g. adult diapers, milk supplements) and transport.
The plethora of assistance programmes support Singapore’s seniors in enjoying dignified lives without putting burden of financial strain on families. Have you tapped on any of these schemes? Share your experience with us on our DollarsAndSense Facebook Page!
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