The Budget 2014 was announced on 21 February by Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam. He announced that there would be more help available for people with disabilities, families with children with special needs and the elderly.
In a nutshell, here are the benefits extended to people with disabilities announced in Budget 2014:
Subsidies for dedicated transport services and taxis
– Subsidies of up to 80% for dedicated transport services for people with disabilities travelling to schools and care services;
– A new Taxi Subsidy Scheme providing up to 50% in taxi subsidy for people with disabilities who are unable to take public or dedicated transport. This will apply to those in the lower half of households;
In addition, the Government has also announced earlier the introduction of a new concession scheme that would come into effect in July this year to keep transport affordable for people with disabilities. A person with disabilities commuting on buses and trains will get 25% discount off adult fares, and will not have to pay additional fares for distances beyond 7.2km. There is also an option for them to purchase a monthly concession pass at $60.
Enhanced subsidies for the Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC)
– All Singaporean children with special needs who are enrolled in EIPIC will see their universal base subsidy raised from $300 to $500;
– Middle-income households, meaning those earning above the median household income, will benefit from a further 20% to 50% subsidy, on top of an enhanced $500 base subsidy;
– Lower-income households will also see a decrease in monthly expenses, paying a nominal monthly fee as low as $3, down from $50 a month.
Enhanced Handicapped Dependant Relief
To provide greater support for individuals with handicapped dependents, the amount of handicapped spouse relief, handicapped sibling relief and handicapped child relief will be increased by $2,000 as follows:
Additional Subsidies for Outpatient Care
Members of the Pioneer Generation who have moderate to severe functional disabilities will receive cash assistance of $1,200 a year under the Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme to help with their outpatient care.
“We are happy that the Government will be setting aside funds from this year’s Budget to provide greater assistance to people with disabilities and their families. Expenses for them are generally higher because of higher medical and transport expenses. Any additional support for them will go a long way in helping them,” said Mr Abhimanyau Pal, SPD’s executive director.
More information on the budget can be found at http://www.singaporebudget.gov.sg/data/budget_2014/download/FY2014_Budget_in_Brief.pdf