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23 Nov 2022
SOURCE: CPF Board
In life, the importance of companionship and caring for others cannot be understated, especially if you are in need of help mentally and physically. It’s definitely a noble deed to care for others, yet we often forget that our caregivers are also human. When one engages in the act of caring for others, who is there for them?
Amidst times of uncertainty, it is certainly reassuring to know you’re not alone. But this sense of security is not exclusive to those being cared for. Here are some forms of support available to help caregivers offset their own expenses—be it expenses in the present, or expenses that might be incurred in the future. This can come in the form of insurance payouts that provide basic financial protection for their loved ones , as well as other financial schemes for caregivers.
Home Protection Scheme (HPS)
One concern of caregivers is that something unexpected might happen to them, leaving their loved ones behind with no care and support. One key example might be a caregiver passing on unexpectedly before paying up their housing loan, leaving behind a potential financial burden for loved ones who have no one else to rely on. This is where the HPS comes in to bring greater peace of mind.
The HPS is a mortgage-reducing insurance that protects you and your loved ones from losing your HDB flat in the event of death, terminal illness, or total permanent disability. HPS insures you until you turn 65 or until your housing loan is paid up, whichever is earlier. If you own an HDB flat and are paying your housing loan’s monthly instalments using CPF savings or cash, the HPS would be applicable for you.
Besides providing peace of mind to those insured, another key benefit of the HPS is its convenience in various aspects. When a claim comes in for an outstanding mortgage settlement, HPS will settle the outstanding housing loan up to the insured sum, with HDB or the mortgagee directly. In addition, the premiums are affordable, with one of the lowest rates on the market. Finally, the method of payment is very simple—the annual premiums are automatically deducted from your Ordinary Account (OA), you do not need to fret about submitting payment forms or going through complicated procedures!
Things to note
While HPS is required if you are using CPF savings to pay your monthly housing instalments, it is not required if you are using cash, though we strongly encourage you to apply. When applying for the HPS, it is also important to keep in mind that any insurance claim will be rejected if there was any false or misleading information submitted when applying for the HPS. Hence, it is important that you declare your health conditions truthfully when applying for the HPS.
To find out more about the HPS, check out this page!
Dependants’ Protection Scheme (DPS)
Another concern a caregiver might have is losing one’s income should anything happen to him or her. With the DPS, a term life insurance scheme, there is less worry on this front as the DPS is a good safety net that provides basic financial protection for you and your family in the event of death, terminal illness or total permanent disability. It is solely provided by Great Eastern Life and is automatically extended to you upon a valid CPF working contribution, if you are a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident (PR) aged between 21 and 65. This allows you to enjoy insurance coverage in a hassle-free manner and as early as possible once you start working—when you are more likely to be healthy and insurable.
If you are working and have dependants who are relying on your income, or if you are a caregiver taking care of someone who is unable to care for themselves, DPS ensures you are not left without any support if you lose your income due to an accident or illness, especially if you then do not have enough CPF or private savings to support your dependants. Not only does it include coverage for members up to age 65, it also has affordable yearly premiums from as low as $18 per annum.
Things to note
You can use your CPF savings or cash to pay for DPS premiums, though do note that DPS premiums will increase as you age. In addition, while DPS is automatically extended to you, you also have the flexibility to terminate your coverage at any time by contacting Great Eastern Life. At the end of the day though, it is worth carefully considering the financial protection DPS offers to your family before you do so. Should you decide to re-join DPS, you will be required to submit a health declaration and coverage will only be provided subject to your good health.
You can find out more about the DPS here, and check out the status of your DPS application through this dashboard.
CareShield Life and ElderShield
As a caregiver, your physical health and healthcare finances could be of concern too. Depending on your age, you may have CareShield Life or ElderShield to help you with long-term care in the event of severe disability.
Until 2019, all Singapore Citizens and PR with MediSave Account were automatically enrolled in ElderShield at the age of 40 unless they opted out of it. From 2020 onwards, however, all Singaporeans Citizens and PRs born in 1980 or later (i.e. those who turned 40 in 2020) are now automatically covered under CareShield Life.
There are certainly expenses which may take a toll on one’s financial status, especially in the face of severe disability and if one is unable to work—be it the affected person's or their caregivers'. CareShield Life and ElderShield are there to help offset these important expenses.
In the event of severe disability, CareShield Life offers lifetime coverage and monthly cash payouts while ElderShield offers payouts for up to 5 or 6 years, depending on the plan. In addition, CareShield Life and ElderShield both provide worldwide coverage, which means it allows members to remain covered and be able to make claims, as well as receive payouts, wherever they may reside—even if it’s not Singapore!
Things to note
CareShield Life and ElderShield premiums are fully payable by MediSave, and family members can also use their MediSave to help pay the premiums of other family members on their behalf.
For ElderShield, the premium amount is determined at the age of entry and does not increase with age. These premiums are payable annually until the policy anniversary after your 65th birthday or when you make a successful claim, whichever is earlier.
On the other hand, CareShield Life’s monthly premiums differ for members born in 1980 or later, and those born in 1979 or earlier. For both, premiums are paid from the age you join until age 67 (you will still be covered for life), but for members born in 1979 or earlier, those who join at age 59 or older will pay premiums over 10 years, thereby helping to lower their annual premium payable so that it is more affordable and manageable.
You can find out more about CareShield Life here, and about ElderShield here.
In addition to insurance payouts administered by CPF Board, the Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) also provides financial schemes that can help with caregiving expenses as well. Should you be ineligible for the insurance schemes stated above, you may still qualify for AIC’s financial assistance schemes, which have different criteria. These include the Home Caregiving Grant (HCG), Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme (Pioneer DAS), the Migrant Domestic Worker (MDW) levy concessions for persons with disabilities, Interim Disability Assistance Programme for the Elderly (IDAPE), ElderFund and MediSave Care.
When it comes to showing care for those who have spared no efforts in caring for others, money (or the lack of it) and stress that may result from it should not be an additional burden on top of their already heavy responsibilities. These schemes handled by CPF Board are here to help alleviate some of these concerns, so that our caregivers can also ride through potential uncertainties with ease of mind.
Information accurate as of date of publication.