Government Support and Subsidies for Persons Special Needs in Singapore

by | 7 Sep 2023 | Blog

Navigating the world of special needs support can be a complex journey for families and caregivers. In Singapore, the government has laid a solid foundation of regulations, funding, and future plans aimed at providing comprehensive support for individuals with special needs. This article explores the intricate web of support systems, offering insights into making the most of these resources.

Understanding Special Needs in Singapore

In Singapore, “special needs” encompasses a wide range of physical, cognitive, and emotional disabilities. Recognizing the diverse needs of this community is the first step towards accessing targeted support.

Singapore boasts a robust framework of services and programs designed to empower individuals with special needs. From educational assistance to employment protections, the nation is committed to inclusivity and support.

Funding for Individuals with Special Needs in Singapore

A multitude of financial assistance schemes help ease the financial burden for families with special needs children. Here’s a comprehensive table summarising the key options. 

Edusave Special Education (ESE) Grant

The Edusave Special Education (ESE) Grant is a government subsidy that helps to defray the costs of additional support for students with special educational needs (SEN) who are enrolled in mainstream schools. This support can include things like therapists, teacher aides, and specialised equipment.

 The grant is available to children who are Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents (PRs) and who meet the Ministry of Education’s (MOE) criteria for SEN. 

The amount of the grant is based on the individual needs of the child, and can cover up to 100% of the approved costs, capped at $6,000 per year.

ComCare Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (C-PWD)

The ComCare Assistance for Persons with Disabilities (C-PWD) is a financial assistance scheme that provides help with daily living expenses and caregiving costs for Singapore Citizens or PRs with moderate to severe disabilities.

To be eligible for C-PWD, you must have a household income below a certain threshold and meet the Ministry of Social and Family Development’s (MSF) disability assessment criteria. The amount of assistance you receive will vary depending on your individual needs and assessment.

Special Needs Trust Fund

The Special Needs Trust Fund (SNTC) is a trust fund that helps families save for their child’s future care needs. Donations to the SNTC are tax-deductible, and the government provides a dollar-for-dollar matching grant for the first $10,000 donated. 

This means that for every $1 you donate, the government will donate $1 as well. The SNTC is a great way to start saving for your child’s future care needs, and the government matching grant makes it an even more attractive option.

Special Needs Savings Scheme (SNSS)

The Special Needs Savings Scheme (SNSS) is a scheme that allows parents to set aside CPF savings for their child’s long-term care. This is a great way to use your CPF savings to provide for your child’s future needs. 

There is no fixed amount that you can contribute to the SNSS, so you can contribute as much or as little as you want from your CPF Ordinary Account.

Assistive Technology (AT) Fund

The Assistive Technology (AT) Fund is a fund that subsidises the purchase of assistive devices for people with disabilities. Assistive devices can include things like wheelchairs, communication aids, and hearing aids. 

To be eligible for the AT Fund, you must be a Singapore Citizen or PR and you must meet the Enabling Lives Enabling Village’s (ELEV) medical and financial criteria. The AT Fund can subsidise up to 80% of the cost of an assistive device, capped at $4,000 per device.

Medisave Claims for Assistive Devices

Medisave is a national medical savings scheme in Singapore. You can use your Medisave savings to pay for certain approved medical expenses, including the purchase of some assistive devices.

 To be eligible to use your Medisave savings for an assistive device, you must be a Singapore Citizen child with a disability and you must meet the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) criteria. The amount you can claim from your Medisave savings will vary depending on the device and your Medisave balance.

How to Use Government Support for Special Needs Services

You may make use of the above subsidies and government assistance to defray the cost of  special needs intervention for your child.

Kaleidoscope offers Early Intervention Programmes, Special Needs Assessment, and home based tuition for those with special needs. Reach out to us to get tailored support for your child by filling this form

Regulations Protecting Individuals with Special Needs

Educational Regulations

Singapore’s Ministry of Education ensures that children with special needs receive the necessary support to thrive in school settings. This includes specialised programs and resources to cater to individual needs.

Code of Inclusive Education (2021)

This code ensures every child receives quality education, regardless of their abilities. It outlines guidelines for schools to create inclusive learning environments, providing necessary support and accommodations for students with special educational needs (SEN).

Employment Protections

Laws are in place to safeguard the employment rights of individuals with special needs, promoting equal opportunities and workplace accommodations.

Persons with Disabilities Act

The Persons with Disabilities Act (PWDA) is a cornerstone legislation that safeguards the rights of persons with disabilities (PWDs) in diverse areas like education, employment, public transportation, and healthcare. 

Notably, the 2022 amendment strengthens accessibility requirements in public buildings and transportation, paving the way for a more inclusive infrastructure.

How are special needs education policies enforced in Singapore?

Special needs education policies are enforced through a combination of regulatory oversight, inspections, and quality assurance measures by government agencies such as the MOE and ECDA. Schools are required to adhere to guidelines, provide transparent reporting, and continuously demonstrate their commitment to meeting the needs of special education students.

Future plans to empower Singaporeans with Special Needs

SG Enable Masterplan 2025

This ambitious roadmap aims to empower PWDs in education, employment, and independent living by:

  • Expanding inclusive education: Envisioning all schools to be inclusive, with additional support for students with SEN and ongoing professional development for teachers.
  • Creating more job opportunities: Implementing job coaching, skills training, and employer engagement programs to facilitate PWDs’ entry and advancement in the workforce.
  • Promoting independent living: Investing in accessible housing, transportation, and community support services to enable PWDs to live independently with dignity and choice.

National Plan on Ageing (NPA)

Recognizing the growing population of older adults with special needs, the NPA outlines strategies to address their long-term care needs, including home care support and assisted living facilities.

By combining supportive regulations, diverse funding options, and future-oriented plans, the Singapore government strives to create a truly inclusive society where individuals with special needs can thrive and reach their full potential. 

Getting the right government support for your child with special needs

Navigating the path to securing the right care for a child with special needs can be made significantly more manageable with the support of government subsidies. 

These subsidies are designed to cover a wide range of services, including early intervention programs, educational support, and assistive technologies, ensuring that families can access essential resources without bearing the full financial burden.

By leveraging these government-provided aids, parents can take decisive steps towards enriching their child’s development, education, and overall well-being. 

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