Mr Christopher de Souza
Holland-Bukit Timah GRC
To ask the Minister for Social and Family Development
(a) what measures are being taken to provide holistic assistance for
(i) individuals with intellectual disabilities and
(ii) their caregivers; and
(b) whether the Ministry will consider extending existing subsidies such as the VWO Transport Subsidy Scheme, to cover all persons with disabilities regardless of their financial background.
Persons with Disabilities (PwD)s, including those with intellectual disabilities, are supported through a range of early intervention, education, employment and care services. From the time a child is assessed as special needs, they will be supported through the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) and in the school going years at Special Education (SPED) schools which offer customised education programmes for children with intellectual disability. SPED schools also train and help the transition to employment in the later years.
Persons with intellectual disabilities can acquire relevant skills and receive job matching and support services from SG Enable and its Voluntary Welfare Organisation (VWO) partners such as the Movement for the Intellectually Disabled of Singapore (MINDS).
Persons with intellectual disabilities can also receive a range of care services from Drop-in Disability Programmes, Day Activity Centres (DACs) and home based care. DACs equip persons with disabilities with living skills to enhance their independence. We are in the process of adding 600 new DAC places by 2018 to provide this service.
Caregivers hiring a foreign domestic worker (FDW) to care for PwDs requiring assistance with their daily activities are eligible to pay a lower monthly FDW Levy. Caregivers of PwDs with moderate to severe disability can separately receive a monthly FDW Grant should their monthly per capita household income be less than $2,600. In addition to the care services and FDW Levy concession and Grant, caregivers of PwDs can also apply for a Caregivers’ Training Grant each year to attend training on caregiving or self-care skills.
Public Transport subsidies are provided to all PwDs today through the Public Transport Concession Scheme and are not means-tested. Under this scheme, all persons with permanent disabilities will receive 25% off bus and train travel. Private transport options such as taxis and dedicated transport are subsidised though the Taxi Subsidy Scheme and the Voluntary Welfare Organisation Transport Subsidies (VWOTS) and these are means-tested. Under the current means test criteria, up to two-thirds of households in Singapore would be able to meet the scheme’s income criteria. Such an approach has enabled us to channel limited resources to persons who need them most.
In addition to end-user subsidies, the Ministry has also awarded grants to three transport operators serving persons with disabilities in 2015 to help keep transport cost low for dedicated transport users. The subsidised transport rates offered by funded transport operators are available to all PwDs regardless of their income level.