Thursday 9 August 2012

Applications open for Foreign Domestic Worker Grant

By Goh Shi Ting, The Straits Times, 8 Aug 2012

MAID employers who have family members who are frail, elderly, or disabled can apply for a new government grant starting from today.

The Foreign Domestic Worker Grant, which was first announced in March, gives eligible households a $120 monthly stipend to offset the costs of hiring a maid.

When it comes into effect in October, more than 6,000 middle- and low-income families are expected to receive the grant.

There are some conditions, however.

To qualify, households must have a per capita monthly income of $2,200 or less.

The elderly or disabled family member must have been assessed by a doctor as requiring help when taking a shower or moving around, for example.

This person must also be living with the applicant, and the maid who is employed must be one who has attended training approved by the Centre for Enabled Living (CEL).

The grant, which is expected to cost the Government $25 million over the next five years, is given on top of the current levy concession of $95 a month for households with elderly family members above 65 years old.

Sales manager Lynette Lim, 39, who lives in a three-room Bishan flat with her diabetic mother, said the extra cash would help her cope with her mother's medical bills.

"I'll use the savings to pay for my mother's medical needs, and she has gangrene so she will need an amputation sometime this week," said Ms Lim.

Since February, she has been paying $590 a month for a live-in Indonesian maid who helps to take care of her mother.

In a statement released yesterday, the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) said the grant was introduced to give greater support to families whose maids take care of needy family members.

Minister of State for MCYS Halimah Yaacob said that caring for the elderly and disabled can be a challenge for families.

She added: "I also hope that more families will send their foreign domestic workers for training so that they can be better equipped to serve as caregivers."

Acting Minister for Manpower Tan Chuan-Jin had said earlier in March that the grant can also be used by households to compensate maids who may have to work on their mandatory rest days, starting from next year.

Applicants for the grant can download the necessary forms from the Centre for Enabled Living's website at, or call the centre's hotline on 1800-8585-885.

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