With around 15% of Singapore’s population aged 65 and above, healthcare for seniors has become a key focus for the country.
To ensure that seniors have access to medical care and living assistance, the government has a series of subsidies and policies in place. Here is a summary of the schemes for the elderly, as of March 2022.
To Manage Medical Fees
1. Careshield Life
Careshield Life is an insurance scheme for Singaporeans and permanent residents who become severely disabled, and need long-term personal and medical care.
You will receive lifetime cash payouts, starting at S$600 per month. The amount increases over time.
Singaporeans and permanent residents born in 1979 or earlier, and are not severely disabled can apply for the scheme here.
Singaporeans and permanent residents born between 1970 and 1979 who are insured under ElderShield 400 scheme and are not severely disabled are auto-enrolled.
Singaporeans and permanent residents born in 1980 or later are automatically covered.
To make a claim, you must take a severe disability assessment with a Ministry of Health (MOH)-accredited disability assessor. You can apply for the assessment here.
Read more: CareShield Life: How To Convert From ElderShield, and Everything Else You Need To Know
2. Medisave Care
Medisave Care is an insurance scheme that helps Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 30 and up who are severely disabled and need long-term care.
You will receive a monthly cash payout of S$200 from your own or your spouse’s MediSave account. The Medisave account must have at least S$5,000.
To make a claim, arrange a visit with a general practitioner or care provider to obtain a Functional Assessment Report. Apply here.
3. Medical Fee Exemption Card
The Medical Fee Exemption Card (MFEC) covers standard medical and hospitalisation treatments at government hospitals and polyclinics for nursing home residents.
Singaporeans and permanent residents who have S$6,000 or less in savings, and a monthly per capita family income of S$800 or less, are eligible.
To get on the scheme, speak to a medical worker at the nursing home, who will apply on your behalf.
ElderFund is an assistance scheme for Singaporeans who have not received support from CareShield Life, ElderShield, and the Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly.
You receive up to S$250 per month.
Singaporeans aged 30 and above who have low MediSave balances and low personal savings are eligible for the scheme.
To apply, arrange a visit with a general practitioner or care provider to obtain a Functional Assessment Report. Apply here.
5. Community Health Assist Scheme
The Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) subsidises medical and dental treatments done at participating medical and dental clinics. Locate the nearest CHAS-subsidised clinic here.
All Singaporeans are eligible. The amount of benefits are based on your per capita household monthly income or the annual value of your home.
Singaporeans aged 21 and above can apply for CHAS online on behalf of elderly household members. You can also print the application form and mail it to P.O. Box 680, Bukit Merah Central Post Office, Singapore 911536.
Medifund is a financial support scheme for Singaporeans who are still struggling financially with their remaining medical bills after receiving government subsidies.
Singaporeans citizens who are subsidised patients, but still struggling to pay their medical bills, are eligible. Recipients must have received or require treatment from a Medifund-approved institution.
Speak to a medical social worker in the medical institution you have been receiving treatment from.
7. MediShield Life
MediShield Life is a basic insurance plan to help Singaporeans pay for expensive hospital bills and select costly outpatient treatments such as dialysis and chemotherapy.
MediShield Life is compulsory for all Singaporeans and permanent residents, including the elderly and those with pre-existing conditions.
Before your procedure, inform the hospital staff that you want to make a claim from MediShield Life. The hospital will submit the claim to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) board.
1. Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE)
Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) subsidises home modifications so that older residents can live at ease in their own homes. Renovations covered under the scheme include installing slip-resistant bathroom tiles, grab bars, and up to five ramps.
Singaporean seniors who are 65 years old and above, and those aged between 60 and 64 who require help with daily living activities can apply.
Arrange a visit with a general practitioner or care provider to obtain a Functional Assessment Report (FAR). Apply here.
2. Seniors Mobility and Enabling Fund
The Senior Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF) provides financial assistance to seniors and caregivers who are caring for the elderly at home.
You must be a Singaporean aged 60 and above to make claims for assistive devices. Your monthly household income must not be above S$2,000 per person, and the annual value of your home cannot be above S$13,000. It must be the first time you are claiming a subsidy from this fund.
Additionally, to make claims for home healthcare items, you must be receiving healthcare services at home and undergo assessments to determine the type of healthcare items you need.
If you are receiving therapy sessions from a hospital or rehabilitation centre, you may approach the therapists, who will submit an application to the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) on your behalf. You may also contact AIC directly to apply.
3. Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme
Pioneers with disabilities can receive S$100 every month through Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme (PioneerDAS).
Singaporeans born on or before 31 December 1949, and who became a citizen on or before 31 December 1986 are eligible.
To apply, arrange a visit with a general practitioner or care provider to obtain a Functional Assessment Report (FAR). Apply here.
4. Merdeka Generation Package
The Merdeka Generation Package helps Singaporeans who grew up in the 1950s and 1960s.
- A S$100 top-up on the Passion Silver card. You can use this to pay for public transport, and access to community clubs facilities and public swimming pools
- Merdeka generation members will receive S$200 in MediSave top-ups a year between 2019 and 2023
- You will get CHAS subsidies. Merdeka Generation members also get an additional 25% off medical bills at public specialist outpatient clinics and polyclinics
- You will get an extra S$150 discount off CareShield Life every year
- You will get a 5% to 10% discount off MediShield Life. From age 60 to 75, you will get a 5% discount. This will increase to 10% once you are above age 75.
Singaporeans born between 1950 and 1959 and became a Singapore citizen before 31 December 31 1996 are eligible.
Singaporeans born in 1949 or earlier, and became a Singapore citizen before 31 December 31 1996, and did not receive the Pioneer Generation Package are also eligible.
To receive your Passion Card top-up, go to an Add Value Machine at a train station. Place your card on the screen and press the Merdeka button and select “Redeem All”. Bring along your Merdeka Generation card when you visit CHAS clinics to enjoy your subsidies.
General Financial Assistance
1. National Means Testing System (NMTS)
The National Means Testing System (NMTS) calculates the government subsidies you will receive for care services.
Singaporeans who meet the admission criteria and are already receiving care from a MOH-funded service provider will be assessed before they receive the subsidies.
Speak to a medical social worker or care coordinator who will help you to fill up the means test declaration form.
2. ElderShield and CareShield Life Supplement
There are ways to increase your Careshield Life coverage, with monthly payouts from your supplement plan as high as S$5,000. Read our comparison of the available plans below.
READ MORE: CareShield Life Supplement
3. ComCare Short-To-Medium Term Assistance (SMTA)
ComCare Short-To-Medium Term Assistance (ComCare SMTA) helps low-income families and individuals who are either looking for a job, or earning a low income, and require financial assistance. It also applies to individuals unable to work temporarily due to illness or caregiving responsibilities.
Singaporeans and permanent residents (with at least one immediate family member who is a Singapore citizen) with a monthly household income of S$1,900 and below, or per capita income of S$650, with very little or no family support, income, and assets.
Visit your nearest Social Service Office to assess your eligibility for assistance and what other schemes you may be eligible for.
4. ComCare Long-Term Assistance (LTA)
ComCare Long-Term Assistance (ComCare LTA) is a long-term insurance plan to help families and individuals under extreme financial difficulties.
Singaporeans and permanent residents with a monthly household income of S$1,900 and below, or per capita income of S$650 can apply. They must show proof of having difficulty earning a stable income, and have children or family members who earn low incomes.
Visit your nearest Social Service Office to assess your eligibility for assistance and what other schemes you may be eligible for.
1. Rental Housing for Seniors
Seniors who come from low-income income families, have no family members supporting them, and are unable to access other housing options are eligible for rental flats.
These flats are rented through the Public Rental Scheme. The Housing and Development Board (HDB) prioritises seniors who want to apply for a unit near their current place of residence. Flats are being set aside and allocated for the elderly through the Senior Priority Scheme.
HDB also offers temporary housing to seniors who are waiting for their new flats to be completed.
2. 2-Room Flexi Flats Scheme
Seniors can buy a two-room flexi flat that comes with shorter leases.
Singaporeans aged 55 and up can choose a lease that lasts between 15 and 45 years — in 5-year increments — as long as it covers them and their spouse up to the age of 95.
The Senior Priority Scheme ensures at least 40% (minimum of 100 units) of two-room flexi flats are reserved for seniors.
Seniors may also opt for additional senior-friendly features in the flats they buy under the Optional Components Scheme. These include built-in kitchen cabinets with induction hobs and cooker hood, a kitchen sink, and a built-in wardrobe.
Apply through HDB here.
3. Apply for a Senior-Friendly Flat
HDB will build new flats that come with assisted living services and amenities. These include senior-friendly fittings and larger bathrooms.
There will also be communal spaces on every floor of the block, and community gardens where seniors can visit.
These flats will first be available in Bukit Batok. About 160 of such units will be built.
4. Community Care Apartments
Seniors can purchase a Community Care HDB flat that provides daily living support.
These flats cost between S$40,000 for a 15-year lease and S$65,000 for a 35-year lease. They must be fully paid for with cash or funds from the senior’s CPF account.
There are also subsidised flats for seniors who come from low-income families or those who do not receive help from family members.
5. Lease Buyback Scheme
Receive regular income by monetising your flat while continuing to live in it through the Lease Buyback Scheme (LBS).
You can sell part of your flat’s lease to HDB and retain the length of the lease based on the age of the youngest owner. The proceeds from selling part of your flat’s lease will be used to top up your CPF Retirement Account (RA). You can use the CPF RA savings to join CPF LIFE, which provides you with a monthly income for life.
All owners must be aged 65 or up, and at least one owner must be Singaporean. Gross monthly household income must be S$14,000 or less. All owners have to have lived in the flat for at least five years, and the flat must be at least 20 years old to sell to HDB.
Apply for the LBS here.
6. Silver Housing Bonus
If you are selling your current flat or private home and buying a 3-room or smaller flat, you can supplement your retirement income through the Silver Housing Bonus (SHB) scheme.
You can receive up to S$30,000 cash when you top-up your proceeds (up to S$60,000) into your CPF RA, and join CPF LIFE.
At least one owner must be a Singaporean aged 55 or above, with gross monthly household income of up to S$14,000.
The existing property must be a HDB flat that has met the Minimum Occupation Period, or a private home with an annual value of S$13,000 or less. Applicants must not own a second property.
The flat you buy should be a 3-room – excluding 3-room terraces – or smaller flat from HDB or the resale market. It should not cost more than the selling price of the current or last sold property.
You must book the new HDB flat or apply to buy a resale flat before you sell your current home, or within 12 months after you sell your current home.
7. Deferred Downpayment Scheme (DDS)
The Deferred Downpayment Scheme (DDS) lets seniors who are right-sizing to defer the down payment until they collect their keys. That means you only pay the stamp duty and legal fees when you sign the lease agreement, about four months after booking a flat.
The scheme is automatically extended to flat buyers aged 55 years old and above, booked a 2-room flexi or 3-room uncompleted flat, and have not sold or completed the sale of their existing flat when they apply for the new flat.
1. Home Caregiving Grant (HCG)
The Home Caregiving Grant (HCG) provides S$200 to help pay for caregiving costs such as eldercare and caregiver support services, or to hire a Foreign Domestic Worker (FDW).
Seniors who at least have at least one permanent moderate disability are eligible. This includes seniors who need assistance with three or more daily living activities.
You must be a Singaporean or a permanent resident with a parent, child, or spouse who is a Singaporean. Your household monthly income per capita should be S$2,800 or less, and the annual value of your home cannot be above S$13,000. You should not be residing in a long-term care institution.
Visit a general practitioner or care provider to obtain a Functional Assessment Report (FAR). Apply here.
2. Caregivers Training Grant (CTG)
The Caregivers Training Grant (CTG) is an annual S$200 subsidy for caregivers to go for caregiving training courses like behaviour management, day-to-day care, and functional skills development.
The recipient must be looking after a Singaporean or permanent resident aged 65 and up, and completed a training course or received a certificate of attendance.
The senior must have a disability that was assessed by a doctor.
Select and apply for a course here. Courses can be conducted at your home, or at a training facility, or online.
3. Foreign Domestic Levy Concession (FDLC)
The Foreign Domestic Levy Concession (FDLC) is for families that need to hire a FDW to look after family members. You will receive S$60 every month if you qualify for the grant.
If you employ a FDW, you can qualify for this grant if you live with any of the following (who must be a Singapore citizen): A child below 16 years old, an elderly who is at least 67 years old, or a person(s) with disabilities.
The grant is automatically given when you or your spouse turns 67 years old, or your child is registered as a Singaporean at birth, or once your child was granted Singapore citizenship.
However, you need to apply if the family member is not listed above:
For family members or relatives, you can apply here.
For other people who need a FDW to look after them, you can apply here.
For persons with disabilities, you can apply here.
Singapore offers many schemes to help families alleviate their financial stress. But these are not able to cover all of a senior’s healthcare and living expenses. Remember to plan for your retirement as well.
For a start, look into supplementing your default CareShield Life scheme. You can find out how to do so in our article comparing different CareShield Life supplementary plans.