To support more elderly to be cared for at home, the qualifying per capita monthly income for subsidies for home and community-based services will be raised from S$1,400 to S$2,200, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Monday.
Now covering two-thirds of households, subsidies will be raised to as much as 80 per cent, with the middle income seeing the highest increase.
All part of this year's Budget to make healthcare more affordable and accessible to Singaporeans, MOH and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) will spend S$250 million annually, which is about S$60 million more towards the care of some 40,000 elderly.
This represents an increase of about 30 per cent more in subsidies given out per year, benefiting 30 per cent more elderly and served by around 100 healthcare and eldercare providers.
Families with a per capita monthly income of up to S$2,200, which employ foreign domestic workers (FDW) instead of tapping on home help to care for their frail or disabled elderly, will also receive a grant of S$120 per month, on top of the S$95 FDW levy concession.
However, these households will be required to send their foreign maids for relevant training in care giving, which the Centre for Enabled Living (CEL) will provide an annual grant of S$200.
In line with the revised subsidy framework for intermediate and long-term care (ILTC) services, there will also be higher cash payouts for elderly under the Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly (IDAPE) scheme.
In addition, Goods and Service Tax (GST) charged for healthcare services will be absorbed by MOH for all subsidised patients in MOH-funded ILTC institutions.
MCYS will also adopt the same enhanced subsidy framework.
On MOH's initiatives, Minister of State for Health, Amy Khor said, "The enhancements will not only make aged care more affordable, but also free up charity dollars that have been used to subsidise care, thus allowing more resources for voluntary welfare organisations to scale up their services and enhance the quality of care."
Added Halimah Yacob, Minister of State for MCYS, "With the enhanced subsidies and the absorption of GST, we believe that more families will be encouraged to use community based facilities or care for their frail elderly and adult disabled family members at home."