government subsidies for home care

Government Subsidies in Singapore You Can Use for Home Care

Learn more about these 5 home care subsidies and how you can apply for them: CareShield Life, MediSave Care, Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly (IDAPE), Home Caregiving Grant (HCG), and Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE).

by Tan Jia Hui

There is a growing preference among elderly Singaporeans to age in place. This means that it is increasingly important for us to ensure that our homes and neighbourhoods are elderly-friendly. 

Home care plays an important role in helping elderly residents get the care they need as they continue to live in the place most familiar to them. Read on to learn more about the different government subsidies available for home care.

government subsidies for home care

Careshield Life

Careshield Life is a long-term care insurance scheme that provides basic financial support for Singaporeans who are severely disabled. Launched on 1 October 2020, CareShield Life is an upgraded version of ElderShield that offers better and longer payouts. 

Benefits

With CareShield Life, individuals are covered for life after all premiums are completed when you turn age 67 or 10 years after you join the scheme, whichever is later.

In the event of severe disability, CareShield Life provides monthly payouts of at least $600 for as long as you remain severely disabled. 

Severe disability is defined as the inability to perform at least 3 out of 6 of the following activities of daily living (ADLs) even with the aid of special equipments, and will always require physical assistance from another individual throughout the entire activity:

  • Washing
  • Dressing
  • Feeding
  • Toileting
  • Mobility
  • Transferring

Monthly payouts are projected to increase by 2% per year from 2020 to 2025, with possible adjustments after this period. However, do note once you make a successful claim, the payout will be fixed at the year of claim and doesn’t increase even if the scheme’s payout goes up in the future.

careshield life

CareShield Life covers you and allows you to make a claim and receive payouts regardless of where you reside. Furthermore, payouts are in cash, giving you the flexibility to decide on your preferred care arrangement.

Eligibility

All Singaporean Citizens or Permanent Residents born after 1980 are automatically opted into CareShield Life starting from 1 October 2020 or when you turn 30, whichever is later. 

For Singaporean Citizens or Permanent Residents born in 1979 or earlier, There are 3 options. You can choose to remain on ElderShield, switch to CareShield Life, or opt-out of both schemes. If you wish to join CareShield Life, you can do so if you are not severely disabled but should note that you’ll need to top up your premiums.

How to Use CareShield Life for Homage’s Home Care Services

Let’s assume that you are caring for Raj, a 78-year-old senior with late-stage dementia, who opted in for CareShield Life when it was available to him at age 30 and has completed premium payments by age 67. Due to his current condition, he faces difficulty eating and swallowing, moves around in a wheelchair, and needs help with personal care.

Since he has completed all his premium payouts and is considered to have a severe disability, he is eligible to receive $1,200 monthly cash payouts under CareShield Life (assuming a 2% increase in payout annually). This $1,200 cash payout can be used to offset caregiving costs.

For example, you can use $860 on Homage’s 40-hour care relief package, so that Raj can have a trained experienced caregiver look after his personal care needs. If you foresee that Raj may need more specialised care, consider getting the package that includes nursing care at $1,040 per month. This would still leave you with $160 for other ad hoc services.

careshield life payouts

How to Claim

If you are eligible to make a claim under CareShield Life, contact a MOH-accredited severe disability assessor for an assessment and submit a claim application to Agency for Integrated Care (AIC). 

A clinic assessment costs $100 while a house call costs $250, but this fee will be waived for first-time assessments. If this is not your first claim, you will need to pay the assessment fee. This fee will be fully reimbursed with the first payout if you are assessed to be severely disabled.

For more information on how to claim, visit our CareShield Life landing page.

MediSave Care

MediSave Care is a scheme that helps make long-term care more affordable for Singaporeans who need it.

Benefits

Eligible individuals can withdraw up to $200 per month from their MediSave as cash to offset the financial costs of long-term care. Those without sufficient balance in their MediSave can tap on their spouse’s MediSave for the monthly withdrawals, up to a combined total of $200.

Eligibility

You can withdraw from your MediSave if you are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident aged 30 and above, have a MediSave account balance of at least $5,000, and are determined to be unable to perform 3 or more ADLs by a MOH-accredited assessor.

How to Use MediSave Care for Homage’s Home Care Services

Let’s assume that Alice’s grandfather, Mr Lee, has Parkinson’s Disease. In the last few years, his balance and coordination have steadily deteriorated, making it hard to independently complete daily activities like toileting, dressing and feeding. 

Since Mr Lee has limited funds in his MediSave, he is able to tap on his wife’s MediSave account for the monthly $200 cash payout under MediSave Care. With these additional funds, Alice is able to purchase a wheelchair for Mr Lee and offset some of the cost of hiring a professional Homage caregiver to tend to his needs while she is away at work. She can also engage home physiotherapy services and save Mr Lee the trouble of travelling to the clinic.

Here’s an example of how Mr Lee can utilise a 40-hour care package can for Parkinson’s care for his wife.

parkinsons' care

By tapping on MediSave Care, a 40-hour package will cost $660 (instead of $860). This allows Mr Lee to enjoy subsidised care from $16.50/hour). Should he decide to look for longer-term care, here’s how much he can potentially save by purchasing a long-hour home care package with Homage:

How to Apply

If you are eligible, you can apply for MediSave Care by arranging with a MOH-accredited severe disability assessor for an assessment, then submit your application via SingPass. 

Learn more details on how to apply for MediSave Care on our website

Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly (IDAPE)

Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly (IDAPE) is a government scheme catered towards mobility assistance that aims to support the small group of Singaporeans who were not eligible for ElderShield because they exceeded the maximum age limit or had pre-existing conditions.

Benefits

Eligible seniors can receive monthly cash payouts of $150 or $250 for up to 72 months, depending on their financial circumstances. There are no restrictions on how the payouts can be used, as long as it is for the care of the individual with disability. You can nominate yourself, a caregiver of at least 21 years old, or a nursing home that the care recipient is residing in to receive the payout.

Eligibility

To qualify for IDAPE, you must be a Singaporean Citizen residing in Singapore who is born on or before 30 September 1932, or between 1 October 1932 and 30 September 1962 (both dates inclusive) with pre-existing disabilities as of 30 September 2002. In addition, an MOH-approved assessor must have determined that you are unable to perform at least 3 or more ADLs independently.

A household means test will also be used to determine the amount of cash payout you receive. If your household monthly income per person is $2,000 or less (or annual value of property is $13,000 or less for households with no income), you will receive $250 per month. Those with household monthly income per person between $2,001 to $2,800 will receive $150 per month.

How to Use IDAPE for Homage’s Home Care Services

Let’s assume that Mdm Chan, a 92-year-old senior who lives with her husband in a small flat, has recently had to amputate her foot due to complications with diabetes. This has resulted in difficulty performing certain daily activities such as washing, dressing and mobility, which means Mdm Chan will likely need long-term care support.

With the $250 monthly payouts from IDAPE, Mdm Chan is able to offset the costs of purchasing mobility equipment such as a wheelchair to move about more easily. Mdm Chan can also consider engaging home nursing services for wound dressing in the first few months and hiring a caregiver to help her with personal care in the long-term through Homage’s 40-, 80- or 120-hour care packages that are now made more affordable with this scheme. 

How to Apply

If your loved one meets all the eligibility criteria above, you can contact a MOH-accredited severe disability assessor for a disability assessment, then submit your application to AIC.  

Learn more about how to apply for IDAPE here: https://www.homage.sg/subsidies-idape/

Home Caregiving Grant 

Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) is a scheme that gives a $200 monthly cash payout to help families care for their loved ones with moderate to severe disability. Launched on 1 October 2019, HCG replaces the Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW) grant and can be used to defray the costs of senior care and caregiver support services in the community apart from hiring a FDW.

Benefits

HCG grants eligible Singaporeans a $200 monthly cash payout that can be used to care for the individual with disability. From early-2023 onwards, this amount will increase to $250 or $400 per month, depending on financial circumstances.

Eligibility

To be eligible for HCG, the care recipient must:

  • Be a Singaporean Citizen or a Permanent Resident (with a parent, child or spouse who is a Singaporean Citizen)
  • Live in Singapore
  • Always require assistance with at least 3 ADLs
  • Not be enrolled into a residential long-term care institution such as nursing home
  • Have a household monthly income of $2,800 or less per person (or annual value of property of $13,000 or less for households without income).

How to Use HCG for Homage’s Home Care Services

Imagine this scenario: Ahmad, a 74-year-old retiree, recently had a stroke and now requires assistance with daily activities such as feeding, toileting, and transferring. His daughter Farah quit her full-time job and took up a part-time role instead to care for her Dad. However, this means that there will still be periods where she needs to be away for work.

With HCG, Farah is able to partially offset the cost of hiring a part-time caregiver for her Dad while she is away at work. She can also use the funds to engage home therapy services so Ahmad can recover more quickly without having to travel. Since this will likely be a long-term care arrangement, Farah should consider using the HCG payouts to get a long-term care package such as Homage’s 40–hour care relief package for further savings.

How to Apply

Eligible individuals who wish to apply for the HCG will need to undergo a disability assessment. You can visit a General Practitioner (GP) to obtain a Functional Assessment Report (FAR). Assessment costs vary, so make sure to check with the GP of your choice. Alternatively, if you have applied for other severe disability schemes such as CareShield Life, MediSave Care or IDAPE, you can contact a MOH-accredited severe disability assessor instead.

After the disability assessment, you may then submit your application online via the AIC website, email them at [email protected], or walk in to their office to request a hardcopy application form.

Learn more about how to apply for HCG here: https://www.homage.sg/subsidies-home-caregiving-grant/.

Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE)

Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) aims to provide a safe, fall-proof environment for seniors to live in by subsidising up to 95% of the cost of home modifications in HDBs.

Benefits

The HDB EASE programme covers 3 types of home modifications:

  1. Slip-resistant treatment to floor tiles in up to two bathrooms or toilets
  2. Grab bars in the flat: 8 or 10 grab bars for the first toilet, and six grab bars for the second toilet
  3. Ramps: Up to five ramps in the flat, and/or at the main entrance – if possible to construct

Eligibility

The EASE programme is applicable to Singaporean flat owners with at least one household member who is 65 years and older, or between 60 to 64 years old and needs help with one or more ADLs.

Do note that if you are applying for the EASE programme under HDB’s Home Improvement Programme (HIP), the age criterion will not be applicable. They have different eligibility criteria altogether. 

How to Use EASE for Homage’s Home Care Services

Assume that you are living with your elderly father. At 81-years-old, he is a relatively healthy senior who has always been going about his daily activities independently with ease. However, as the years pass, his legs have naturally become weaker. Furthermore, his arthritis seems to be giving him more issues lately, causing pain in his joints. 

Knowing that falls are a major threat to the health and independence of seniors, you decide to make your home more fall-proof as a precautionary measure, but are unsure of what to install and where. Thankfully, with Homage’s in-person care assessments (IPCAs), you can engage an experienced nurse who will assess your loved one’s care needs and the home environment, then plan the best care arrangements for your loved ones and recommend mobility aids and improvements to enhance the safety of the home environment.

After the assessment, you can confidently now modify your home to install grab bars in the toilets and apply slip-resistant treatment to the floor tiles without breaking the bank, thanks to EASE!

How to Apply

Eligible individuals can apply for EASE by filling up the forms on HDB’s EASE (Direct Application) e-Service, completing an assessment report and obtaining a doctor’s endorsement, then submitting a direct application via the website.

Learn more about how to apply for EASE here: https://www.homage.sg/subsidies-ease/

Long-term care can be costly, but with these 5 government subsidies, you’ll find that home care can actually be an affordable, reliable, and convenient care option for your loved one. If you or your loved one needs long-term care support, consider Homage’s prepaid packages for greater savings and peace of mind. 

Homage provides caregiving services for your loved ones at every stage. Our trained care professionals are able to provide companionship, nursing care, night caregiving, home therapy and more, to keep your loved ones active and engaged. 

Provide the best care to your loved one today!  Fill up the form below for a free consultation with our Care Advisory team. 

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References
  1. Lin, C. (2021). Growing preference among elderly residents to ‘age in place’: HDB survey. Retrieved 18 September 2022, from https://www.channelnewsasia.com/singapore/elderly-hdb-ageing-assisted-living-sample-household-survey-341871
About the Writer
Tan Jia Hui
Jia Hui is a content marketer who loves helping others and hopes to make this world a kinder place in any way she can. In her pockets of free time, you can find her snacking on ice cream and fries with her 80-year-young Grandma at home.
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