Friday 27 June 2014

Extra $100 a month for disabled pioneers: Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme

Pioneer scheme ramps up aid for elderly disabled
About 9,000 recipients already identified, sign-ups start in July 2014
By Linette Lai, The Straits Times, 26 Jun 2014

SINGAPOREANS in the Pioneer Generation who need help with getting around and looking after themselves will get an extra $100 a month from September.

The Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme, first announced in February, is meant to help this group with expenses such as medical and home care bills, or even the cost of hiring a domestic worker.

Announcing this yesterday, Senior Minister of State for Health Amy Khor said: "We are hoping to have as smooth an application process as possible."

About 9,000 citizens will be told by mail that they have been included in the scheme.

People who automatically qualify include those currently getting help under ElderShield, the Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly, and the Foreign Domestic Worker Grant.

Other applicants must first be assessed by any fully registered doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or occupational therapist.

To qualify, they must permanently require assistance with at least three of six daily activities: bathing, getting dressed, using the toilet, moving from the bed to a chair, and moving on a level surface.

Application forms are at community centres or social service offices. They can also be downloaded from

Sign-ups start next month, and forms should be e-mailed or posted to the Agency for Integrated Care, which is administering the scheme.

Dr Khor enlisted the help of general practitioners (GPs) to spread the word to their patients about this and other elements of the Pioneer Generation Package at a dialogue session for GPs and their assistants yesterday.

"As neighbourhood GPs, very often you are the first health-care touchpoints for many Singaporeans.

"We want to make sure that you have a sufficient understanding of the scheme so you can help us address some of the queries from your patients," she said.

Much of the dialogue focused on the Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS), which subsidises visits to participating GPs and dentists for citizens in middle- to lower-income households and the pioneer generation.

Some asked whether the claim system for doctors could be streamlined to encourage more of them to come on board.

Others asked if there could be greater differentiation among CHAS patients, to enable the most needy to get more subsidies.

"We try and make sure that we give targeted help according to needs," Dr Khor replied. "But I think there is a balance that we need to strike. If we give so many exceptions, it will be very difficult for us to administer."

* Over $33 million in aid given to disabled pioneers
By Chitra Kumar, The Straits Times, 1 Mar 2016

As of January this year, more than $33 million has been given out to seniors under the Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme.

Introduced in September 2014, the scheme, which is part of the Pioneer Generation Package, gives elderly citizens with moderate to severe functional disability cash to help them meet expenses such as home care services, medical bills and even the cost of hiring a maid.

Mr Kelvin Lim, chief of the social care division at the Agency for Integrated Care, told The Straits Times that over 27,000 disabled pioneers have benefited from the scheme, which gives them $100 monthly for life, to offset their care expenses.

One beneficiary is 78-year-old Lian York Chong, who suffers from Parkinson's, stroke and renal failure. Three times a week, the retiree is wheeled to St Luke's Eldercare centre in Tampines Street 11 by his maid for rehabilitation exercises.

Due to his moderate disability, Mr Lian's 26-year-old Indonesian helper sees to all his daily needs such as bathing and eating. Since last August, he has been receiving $100 a month from the scheme. He uses the cash to pay for therapy and the helper's monthly levy of $175.

"The money is helpful," said Mr Lian, who was once a chief cook. "Everything is very expensive. Even so, I don't want to ask for more help because I am already old..."

To qualify, seniors must have been assessed by a doctor, nurse, physiotherapist or occupational therapist to need permanent help with at least three of six daily activities: bathing, dressing, eating, using the toilet, moving from their bed to a chair, and moving on a level surface.

Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme to commence in September 2014

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