Persons with disabilities, families with special needs children, and inclusive employers stand to benefit from this year’s new and enhanced measures.

In just a few months, the year 2020 has brought upon several changes to policies that have a direct impact on persons with disabilities. These include increased subsidies for skills training, student care services, and even a housing grant if you’re thinking about moving to a new HDB block with direct lift access. Let’s take a look.

1. Enhanced training grant for employers and persons with disabilities

Lady with red blouse and jeans talking to man on wheelchair at a training and career fair.

From July 2020, employers looking to upskill their workers with disabilities and persons with disabilities planning to upgrade themselves will receive more money to do so under new enhancements made to the Open Door Programme (ODP) training grant administered by SG Enable. Here’s a look at the enhanced ODP training grant that specifically targets persons with disabilities:

  • Course fee subsidies will go up to 95 per cent from 90 per cent
  • Training allowance will go up to $6 per hour from $4.50
  • New training commitment award of $100 for each completed course

2. Up to $1,000 worth of SkillsFuture Credit to upgrade your skills

Two women discussing financial matters at a training session

If you’ve been thinking of picking up some new skills, now’s a good time. The Government will be giving away an additional SkillsFuture Credit of $500 to every Singaporean aged 25 and up, to be used by 31 December 2025. This is on top of the original $500 worth of credit, which has no expiration date.

If you’re aged between 40 to 60, you’ll get $500 more, bringing your total SkillsFuture Credit – to be used by 2025 – to $1,000. You can start tapping on these top-ups from 1 October 2020.

The move is targeted to help mid-career workers gain more skills and be better equipped to seize new career opportunities.

Here’s a hack that will sweeten the deal further: SkillsFuture Credit can be used for eligible ODP courses, so do check in with the training providers when you sign up. This means that if you tap on both the enhanced 95 per cent ODP subsidy and the credit, you may end up not having to pay anything at all to upgrade yourself.

3. More subsidies for Special Student Care Services

A group of children seated at a table to draw at a student care centre.

Families who currently have children enrolled in Special Student Care Centres (SSCCs) can expect a reduction in out-of-pocket costs of 30 to 80 per cent from July this year. SSCCs provide after-school care services and supervision for Special Education (SPED) students aged seven to 18.

At the same time, the Government is also going to enable more families to receive subsidies. Currently, your monthly household income has to be less than $4,000 to receive subsidies. From July 2020, this amount will be raised to $9,200. Overall, around 150 children with special needs and their families are expected to benefit from these changes.

4. SG Enable will be go-to touchpoint for disability services

Lady in blue SG Enable t-shirt talking to lady with red and white striped blouse at the Enabling Village

To strengthen service delivery and better serve persons with disabilities and their caregivers, SG Enable will take over the administration of disability programmes currently run by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) and the National Council of Social Service (NCSS) from October 2020. This includes the funding administration and management of services provided by SPED schools, day activity centres, sheltered workshops, and adult disability homes.

Meanwhile, MSF's Disability Office will retain policy oversight over disability matters.

5. Thinking of moving to a flat with direct lift access? Here’s $30,000

High-rise HDB flats in Singapore

A new housing grant will be introduced to help offset moving costs for residents with medical or mobility issues, who live in HDB blocks without a lift that stops on every floor.

This Lift access Housing Grant, of up to $30,000, will be offered only to those whose flats aren’t eligible for the Housing & Development Board’s Lift Upgrading Programme.