Govt to launch caregiver subsidy pilot scheme next month

2020-11-06 02:53     Comment:0

The government announced yesterday that it will launch a one-year pilot scheme next month to pay a monthly subsidy of 2,175 patacas to those who are looked after by a caregiver.

Those with a serious intellectual disability or who are bedridden will be covered by the scheme, officially known as Caregiver Subsidy Pilot Scheme, which will run from next month to November next year.

The pilot scheme aims to enable the government to gain experience in implementing the caregiver subsidy, before the possible launch of a permanent programme.

The Social Welfare Bureau (IAS) hosted a press conference on its premises yesterday to brief the media about the pilot scheme. IAS President Wilson Hon Wai and Choi Sio Un, who heads the bureau’s Social Solidarity Department, presided over yesterday’s press conference.

Hon said that his bureau had decided that those who are looked after by a caregiver, rather than the caregiver, will receive the subsidy with the aim of preventing the possible adverse situation in which the caregiver will not look after those who depend on him or her. Hon also said that IAS officials will carry out unannounced visits to the homes of those receiving the subsidy so as to ensure that the caregivers always look after those who depend on them.

According to Choi, the potential beneficiaries can apply for the caregiver subsidy from next Monday. A subsidy of 2,175 patacas will be issued every month from next month to November next year.

Permanent local residents who are assessed by the bureau as having a severe or profound intellectual disability will be eligible for the subsidy, according to Choi.

Disabled residents need to be assessed by the Social Welfare Bureau first before they can get a Disability Assessment Registration Card. Under the bureau’s assessment system, there are six kinds of impairment, namely visual, audio, verbal, physical, intellectual and mental. There are four levels for the six kinds of impairment, namely slight, moderate, severe, and profound.

In addition to those with a severe or profound intellectual disability, the subsidy will also cover those who are bedridden – namely those who are unable to sit or stand by themselves without the assistance of others or tools, according to Choi.

Concerning the caregivers, local residents – permanent and non-permanent – aged at least 16 will be eligible for the pilot scheme. The caregivers must live with those who depend on them and will have to prove that they are capable of providing proper assistance to those being taken care of, Choi underlined.

According to Choi, the caregivers must be the spouse, parent, brother, sister, son, daughter, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, or stepdaughter of those who are being looked after.

According to Choi, the applicants will have to pass the bureau’s assessments on their financial conditions.

Hon pointed out that the amount of the caregiver subsidy of 2,175 patacas a month is half of the official minimum subsistence rate for a one-member household per month.

Choi said that currently some 540 residents have been assessed by his bureau as having a severe or profound intellectual disability. Choi said that half of them are living in social service institutions so that they will not be eligible for the scheme, adding that therefore his bureau expects some 270 beneficiaries who are intellectually disabled. Concerning those who are bedridden, Choi said that his bureau was unable to predict how many will be eligible for the subsidy. 

Choi Sio Un (right), who heads the Social Solidarity Department of the Social Welfare Bureau (IAS), speaks during yesterday’s press conference about the government’s caregiver subsidy pilot scheme, as IAS President Wilson Hon Wai looks on.  Photo: GCS

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