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Singapore gov't to relax criteria for elderly care subsidies


10:32, February 21, 2012

SINGAPORE, Feb. 20 (Xinhua) -- Singapore government announced on Monday that it will raise the household income ceiling for elderly care services, which means it will benefit more households.

The government is tweaking the subsidy framework to make intermediate and long-term care services more affordable and accessible. Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam announced various measures on Friday to help the lower-income families and build an inclusive society.

Families with a maximum per capita income of 2,200 Singapore dollars (1,760 U.S. dollars) can now get the government subsidies for services like home hospice and day care, up from the current ceiling of 1,400 Singapore dollars (1,120 U.S. dollars), the Ministry of Health said on Monday.

Such households will qualify for a grant of 120 Singapore dollars, too, if they hire a foreign maid to look after elderly family members.

The changes will take effect by the third quarter. About two- thirds of the households in the city state will qualify for the home- and community-based services when the qualifying per capita income is raised.

The subsidies of 20 percent to 75 percent under a scheme will be expanded to cover all community hospital patients, too.

The budget proposals announced on Friday were aimed at building an inclusive society while sustaining economic growth by cutting the dependence on foreign workers, improving productivity and addressing the issue of income inequality.

To help workers with their retirement savings, the central provident fund (CPF) contribution rates for older Singaporeans will be raised. Lower-income families can also expect to benefit from a goods and services tax voucher scheme.


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