For years, people have been urging the Singapore Government to give more financial assistance to caregivers and the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) implemented the Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) in October 2019.

HCG is meant to cater to caregivers from lower-income families with a monthly per capita household income of up to $1,200, or $1.201 to $2,800.

For example, those with no income who live in a residence with an annual value of up to $13,000, receive $200, which was meant to defray costs such as the cost of caregiver support services in the community or hiring a foreign domestic worker.

In February this year, the Straits Times reported that the HCG has been increased to up to $400 per month. Beneficiaries with a monthly household income between $1,201 and $2,800 will receive $250, up from $200 previously.

Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Health and Law Rahayu Mahzam stated in a Facebook post on Thursday that the increase is part of efforts to give more help to lower-income families.

Ms Rahayu cited the case of a 62-year-old Singaporean, Mr Abdul Majid Khairon, and his wife, who is his caregiver and a grant recipient.

The increase in the grant will help Mr Majid with daily expenses and medical needs, Ms Rahayu said.

It was said that eligible beneficiaries will receive a letter from the AIC by the end of March with more details on these enhancements.

Now, I went to AIC’s website and keyed in the parameters of a person who is 70 years old, lives with one other person, has no income (no working persons) household in HDB, and needs help with toileting and eating to see what this person would qualify for.

The result of the assessment is that this person did not qualify for the HCG (whether is it $250 or $400), although they may be eligible for others, like Medisave, MediShield Life, CHAS, Caregiver’s Training Grant, etc.

 

The reason why such an individual does not qualify for the HCG is that they only require assistance with two daily activities of living (ADL) (eating & toileting in this example).

To qualify for AIC, individuals must require assistance with at least three activities of daily living, namely bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, transferring such as from bed to chair, and moving from room to room, regardless of their age.

Less stringent criteria to receive allowance for disability in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the eligibility criteria are arguably less strict, as only one ADL is required to qualify for the Disability Allowance.

The definition of ‘severely disabled’ under the Disability Allowance in Hong Kong is defined as producing significant restriction or lack of ability or volition compared to other persons of the same age to perform at least one or more of the following activities in daily living to the extent that substantial help from others is required:

  1. working in the original occupation and performing any other kind of work for which he/she is suited (not applicable for persons aged below 15 years);
  2. coping with self-care and personal hygiene such as feeding, dressing, grooming, toileting, and/or bathing;
  3. maintaining one’s posture and dynamic balance while standing or sitting, for daily activities, managing indoor transfer (bed/chair, floor/chair, toilet transfer), travelling to clinic, school, place of work,
  4. expressing oneself, communicating and interacting with others, maintaining cognitive abilities (orientation, attention, concentration, memory, judgment, thinking, learning ability, etc.), maintaining emotional control, and social behaviour.

The amount of assistance payable per month for Normal Disability Allowance and Higher Disability Allowance is HK$2,005 (S$345) and HK$4,010 (S$690), respectively. The Higher Disability Allowance requires the person to be in need of constant attendance from others in their daily life and not receiving care in residential institutions subsidized by the government (including subsidized places in subvented/contract homes and residential care homes).

Additionally, a monthly Transport Supplement of HK$325 is payable to eligible Normal Disability Allowance or Higher Disability Allowance applicants in the age group of 12 to 64. This is to encourage these individuals to participate more in activities away from home, thereby enhancing their integration into society.

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