Government Introduces New Schemes To Assist The Disabled
From 2020 onward, individuals aged 30 and above who are severely disabled will be able to withdraw case from their Medisave accounts. This is provided they or their spouse have at least $5,000 in their accounts. The larger the amount in their accounts, the more they will be able to withdraw. For example, those who have $5,000 in the Medisave account will be able to withdraw $50, while those with $20,000 or more can withdraw $200 a month.
This is the first time members will be allowed to withdraw case from Medisave since it was established in 1984. It was set up as part of the Central Provident Fund contributions to help defray hospital bills. According to Health Minister, Gan Kim Yong, the move was to assist Singaporeans who were facing financial difficulties and also coping with disabilities at the same time. He stressed that this will not result in any higher Medisave contributions. He also said a separate fund was being set up to assist needy disabled people. ElderFund, which is new safety net, will provide needy disabled people up to $250 a month from 2020, while CareShield Life will also be introduced.
CareShield Life is a long-term disability insurance which will be compulsory for those aged 40 years and younger. Under this scheme, those who are severely disabled will get at least $600 a month for life. About two million people who are 41 years and older will also be encouraged to join the scheme when it is launched in 2020. For those who are between 42 – 51 years in 2021 and already on ElderShield 400, they will automatically be enrolled in CareShield Life and have till December 2023 to opt out with no penalty. Under ElderShield400, which is offered by three insurance companies, people who are severely disabled will get $400 a month for up to six years.
Those on the scheme who seek to upgrade to CareShield Life will need to pay higher premiums for 10 years or up to the age of 67, whichever is longer. Those who are on the older ElderShield300 or who do not have ElderShield coverage may also join CareShield Life if they pay an additional “catch-up premium” over 10 years to bring them to the level of those on ElderShield400. Janice Chia, who is managing director of Ageing Asia, welcomed the move to allow Medisave withdrawals in cash for the severely disabled. However, she added that the Government could consider a similar scheme for people who are have mild or moderate disabilities, and still require a caregiver for one or two daily living activities.