Long-term care versus other social/healthcare schemes

Parliamentary Question, 5 Nov 2019


Ms Anthea Ong asked the Minister for Social and Family Development (a) whether financial benefits from the Home Caregiving Grant, MediSave withdrawal for Long-Term Care, Elder Fund and CareShield Life will result in (i) a change of monthly household income for one’s national means-testing status assessment and (ii) a change in eligibility for ComCare assistance and MediFund; (b) how does the Government ensure that residents who benefit from the long-term care schemes are aware about how they may jeopardise their eligibility for other social and healthcare assistance schemes; and © how are policies designed to minimise this negative effect of opportunity costs in terms of benefits received.

Mr Desmond Lee: Financial assistance from help schemes such as the Home Care-giving Grant, MediSave withdrawal for Long-Term Care, ElderFund and CareShield Life, will not affect the computation of household monthly income used in means testing. Household monthly income per person refers to one’s basic employment income, trade or self-employed income, overtime pay, allowances, cash awards, commissions, and bonuses.

However, we will take into consideration various financial assistance schemes when determining eligibility for ComCare assistance and MediFund. ComCare assistance is for those who need it the most. ComCare assistance covers basic living expenses when other forms of financial assistance cannot sufficiently cover these. Where clients are still unable to meet their basic living expenses, which may include medical consumables, we will provide ComCare assistance. We will also refer them to agencies that provide subsidised or free day-care or home-care services if needed.

Similarly, MediFund is a safety net for needy patients who are unable to afford their healthcare bills after exhausting other support means. Independent MediFund committees assess each applicant holistically. For disabled persons, the committees take into account their higher healthcare expenses and sources of support, including financial assistance from various schemes. This will help the committees provide more support to those who may not have access to these schemes, and ensure that no Singaporean will be denied appropriate healthcare.

Each family that applies for financial assistance is considered on a case-by-case basis, to ensure that they receive the assistance that they need for their basic living expenses and healthcare bills.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Anthea Ong is a Nominated Member of Parliament. (A Nominated Member of Parliament (NMP) is a Member of the Parliament of Singapore who is appointed by the President. They are not affiliated to any political party and do not represent any constituency. There are currently nine NMPs in Parliament.)

The multi-sector perspective that comes from her ground immersion of 12 years in different capacities helps her translate single-sector issues and ideas across boundaries without alienating any particular community/group. As an entrepreneur and with many years in business leadership, it is innate in her to discuss social issues with the intent of finding solutions, or at least of exploring possibilities. She champions mental health, diversity and inclusion — and climate change in Parliament.

She is also an impact entrepreneur/investor and a passionate mental health advocate, especially in workplace wellbeing. She started WorkWell Leaders Workgroup in May 2018 to bring together top leaders (CXOs, Heads of HR/CSR/D&I) of top employers in Singapore (both public and private) to share, discuss and co-create inclusive practices to promote workplace wellbeing. Anthea is also the founder of Hush TeaBar, Singapore’s 1st silent teabar and a social movement that aims to bring silence, self care and social inclusion into every workplace, every community — with a cup of tea. The Hush Experience is completely led by lovingly-trained Deaf facilitators, supported by a team of Persons with Mental Health Issues (PMHIs).

Follow Anthea Ong on her public page at www.facebook.com/antheaonglaytheng

A full-time human, and part-time everything else.