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Govt White Paper proposes higher grant, better recognition and support for caregivers

SINGAPORE — In an effort to ease the financial strain on caregivers and better support them, the Government is proposing raising the Home Caregiving Grant, among various moves.

Govt White Paper proposes higher grant, better recognition and support for caregivers

Singapore

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SINGAPORE — In an effort to ease the financial strain on caregivers and better support them, the Government is proposing raising the Home Caregiving Grant, among various moves.

The Home Caregiving Grant is a S$200 monthly cash payout to help families care for loved ones who have moderate to severe disabilities.

Applicants have to be Singapore citizens or permanent residents, with a parent, child or spouse who is a Singaporean citizen, living here, with a per capita household monthly income that is below S$2,800.

If the proposal is passed, the S$200 cash payout will be increased to S$400 for beneficiaries with monthly per capita household income of up to S$1,200.

Beneficiaries with no income who live in a residence with an annual value of up to S$13,000 will also be eligible for the revised S$400 grant. 

The S$200 will be increased by S$50 for beneficiaries with monthly per capita household income of between S$1,201 and S$2,800. 

The recommendation to enhance the Home Caregiving Grant is one of the proposals put forth in a White Paper on women’s development which was submitted to Parliament on Monday (March 28).

The White Paper was led by Minister of State for Education and Social and Family Development Sun Xueling, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth and Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling, and Parliamentary Secretary for Health Rahayu Mahzam. It was put together after a year-long nationwide conversation on issues relating to women.

The recognition and support for caregivers was one of the key areas of focus in the Paper, along with areas such as equal opportunities in the workplace and protection against violence and harm. 

Speaking to TODAY in a phone interview, Mr Henry Koh, 44, a caregiver to his mother and grandmother, who are both suffering from dementia, said that the eligibility criteria should be more flexible. 

Mr Koh, who is a behaviour therapist, said: "My dad left a house behind for us (after he died) and it impacted my eligibility for grants. Unless we sell the house, we are not eligible for some grants but the thing is... the cash flow is still tight for us." 

He added that the enhancements to the grant would barely cover costs from inflation, which has caused prices of essentials to increase. 

"With the current situation and the prices of everything going up, it's (the grant enhancement) more to help with the current price increase rather than any difference in easing the load," he said. 

Echoing his sentiments, Ms Jasmine Chua, 50, who left her job to take care of her 86-year-old mother, said that she has felt the pinch of the recent price hikes. 

Ms Chua said: "We may need to come up with money for things we never expect and it is hard to find the money. Groceries and oil are expensive now. To really help caregivers the grants should have been at least S$600 to S$800." 

Other initiatives for caregivers include proposals to broaden the service scope of the Household Services Scheme to include basic child- and elder-minding services. 

The Household Services Scheme allows households to tap part-time household services, such as home cleaning, grocery shopping or car-washing, to ease the load of caregivers. 

The White Paper also highlighted other moves that the Government has made or is considering to better support caregivers:

  • The Retirement Sum Topping-Up Scheme tax relief cap was enhanced from S$7,000 to S$8,000 from Jan 1, applicable for top-ups to one's own account and those of loved ones
  • The Government is looking into further diversifying top-up sources for the Matched Retirement Savings Scheme to help older Singaporeans, which include caregivers, to accumulate their Basic Retirement Sum 
  • The Government will promote the Agency for Integrated Care as a one-stop resource for caregivers of seniors, and work with community partners to form community-based peer support networks for caregivers

Related topics

caregivers White Paper women

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