Thursday, 19 March 2015

MSF Assistive Technology Fund to cover more people: DPM Tharman

The fund will expand its scope to cover persons with disabilities at all ages and for all purposes, such as those in therapy, rehabilitation and seeking more independence in daily living, says Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
By Sara Grosse, Channel NewsAsia, 17 Mar 2015

To encourage the adoption and use of assistive technologies, the Government will be making enhancements to the Ministry of Social and Family Development's Assistive Technology Fund come August.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced this at the 63rd anniversary charity banquet of the Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped (SAVH) on Tuesday (Mar 17).



The fund currently provides means-tested financial assistance to students with disabilities in mainstream and special education and adults with disabilities in open employment to acquire assistive equipment, such as hearing aids.

Going forward, the fund will expand its scope to cover persons with disabilities at all ages and for all purposes, such as those in therapy, rehabilitation and seeking more independence in daily living.

The means-tested subsidies for the fund will also be revised. The monthly per capita income cap for eligibility will be raised from S$1,500 to S$1,800, to enable more families in the middle-income group to benefit from subsidies. The lifetime cap for subsidies of S$20,000 from the fund will also be doubled to S$40,000 per beneficiary.

About 400 beneficiaries are expected to benefit from these enhancements each year, once they kick in.

Mr Tharman said the Government is also improving the development of new and innovative solutions to help persons with disabilities through the Tote Board-Enabling Lives Initiative, which was launched last year.

"We will make use of this new fund to support the design and piloting of new solutions that improve the lives of persons with disabilities and their caregivers," he said. "It can be in a whole range of areas, whether it has to do with mobility or navigation or working more productively and independently, or simply having a more independent life."

Mr Tharman encouraged all voluntary welfare organisations to take advantage of this initiative and work together to co-create solutions in the interest of persons with disabilities.

About 500 guests were present at the banquet. The aim of the event is to raise awareness of the visually impaired, as well as raise funds for SAVH’s operations, services and programmes.


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