As Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat delivered the budget, he referred to Singapore as a ‘Sang-Kanchil’, a small, quick-witted mousedeer.
In light of this, he added that aging was one of the huge issues that the nation had to tackle and the budget aimed to support this.
With the proportion of those over 65 making up about 10 per cent of the population, and one in four of the workforce aged 55 and above, Heng set aside a huge portion of the budget to be rolled out for the elderly.
Merdeka Generation Package
The Government provides a “Merdeka Generation Package” to those born in the 1950s in order to help with the cost of living, healthcare and housing. Heng said that the Government aims to help seniors to stay active, healthy and engaged in their silver years.
As announced by the minister, the Merdeka Generation Package (MGP) comprises five key benefits:
1. To support their active lifestyles, all Merdeka Generation (MG) seniors will receive a one-time $100 top-up to their Passion Silver cards.
2. To support the 500,000 or so elderly Singaporeans in terms of Medisave top-ups, they will receive a MediSave top-up of $200 a year for five years. This will start from this year until 2023 and is unchanged from the top-ups they previously received.
3. MG seniors will receive additional subsidies for outpatient care, for life. They will receive special Chas subsidies, for common illnesses, chronic conditions and dental procedures.
4. All MG seniors will receive subsidies for their premiums, starting from 5 per cent of their MediShield Life premiums, and increasing to 10 per cent after they reach 75.
5. The Government will provide an additional participation incentive of $1,500 for MG seniors who join CareShield Life, when it becomes available for existing cohorts in 2021.
To support the elderly, Heng also spoke about Silver Support, which aims to supplement incomes and mitigate inequality in the working and retirement years respectively.
Older workers will see higher increases in payouts. For example, workers aged 60 and earning S$1,200 a month will now receive $4,000 per year from the Workfare Income Supplement, or almost 30 per cent of their wages.
Lower CPF Contributions?
The Government has set up a Tripartite Workgroup to study the concerns of older workers, he said. It will review policies such as the retirement and re-employment age, and the CPF contribution rates of older workers.
They will present their recommendations later this year.
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