Financial assistance schemes for disability in Singapore


Having a disability, or caring for a loved one with a disability can be challenging. Physical, mental and emotional challenges aside, having a disability or caring for a loved one with an impairment can be a real financial strain.

Thankfully, in the last decade or so, as Singapore takes significant steps toward creating a more inclusive society where persons with disabilities (PWDs) can truly become empowered and recognised, more funding has been funnelled into helping children with special needs and persons with disabilities.

If you are searching for avenues of financial assistance for PWDs, look no further as we have compiled a list of grants and subsidies you could apply for. The list has been broken down into several categories, namely:

  • Support for Early Education, Study/ Training Bursaries and Grants
  • Transport Cost Subsidies, Assistive Technology
  • Support for the Elderly
  • Saving Schemes
  • Activity Centres and Disability Homes

This list is in no way exhaustive, so if anyone reading this would like to share more information regarding grants, subsidies, or whatever financial assistance schemes that has not been covered here, please let us know in the comments section below so we could update the list to make it as comprehensive as possible.


Support for Early Education by SG Enable


Development Support Programme

The Development Support Programme (DSP) helps kids with mild developmental needs to improve and overcome their language, literacy and social skills when they are in preschool (before six) to prepare them for primary education. On top of the monthly base subsidy of $300 that all Singaporean children are entitled to, parents will also receive further subsidies based on their income per capita.

*Children who are enrolled in an Early Intervention Programme for Infants and Children (EIPIC) are not eligible for DSP.

<Link here>

Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC)

The Early Intervention Programme for Infants & Children (EIPIC) provides social, educational and therapy services for children below the age of 6 who are diagnosed with moderate to severe disabilities. Through this programme, the kids will be able to participate freely in activities that will help with their development growth potential and also help minimise the development of their secondary disabilities. The fees at these EIPIC centres are means-tested, so families will be entitled to subsidies according to their income per capita.

*Applicants will undergo an initial screening before admittance to the programme.

<Link here>

Integrated Childcare Programme (ICCP)

The Integrated Childcare Programme (ICCP) caters to children with mild to moderate disabilities, aged between 2 and 6 years old, by providing them with a conducive environment to learn alongside their peers in an inclusive programme offered in existing childcare centres. The programme aims to better prepare children for integration into primary education. Working mothers will be eligible for subsidies of up to $300, and non-working mothers, up to $150.

<Link here>


Study/ Training Bursaries and Grants

Caregivers Training Grant (CTG)

The Caregivers Training Grant (CTG) is a $200 annual subsidy that helps defray the cost of training caregivers who need to acquire to better care for and cope with the physical and socio-emotional needs of the person with disability whom they are caring for. The caregiver must be a person in charge of the care recipient, who in turn has to be at least 65 years of age or has a disability as assessed by a doctor.


*This grant also falls under Support of the Elderly.

<Link here>

Microsoft Unlimited Potential Professional Certification Training Grant

The Microsoft Unlimited Potential Professional Certification Training Grant enables PWDs with a PCI< $700 or less, based on means-testing, to undergo Microsoft professional training for employment opportunities in IT-related work. The grant funds 50% of the total course fee and other fees relating to the course or up to $3,000 per year, whichever is lower. Applicant is allowed one grant per every two years.


<Link here><Link here>

SPD Bursary Award

The SPD Bursary Award is offered to students with physical or sensory disability, i.e. hearing or visual impairment, from low-income families with a PCI of less than $950, studying in mainstream schools. The quantum of the grant ranges from $300 per year for primary level to $6,000 per year for university level.


Educational Level Quantum of Subsidy
University $6,000 per year
Polytechnic $2500 per year
ITE $850 per year
Pre‐U/Junior College $500 per year
Secondary $400 per year
Primary $300 per year

<Link here>


Wan Boo Sow Charity Fund

The Wan Boo Sow Charity Fund aims to provide financial assistance to needy students studying in polytechnics, PWDs, and homebound elderly. Financial assistance is provided for PWDs for their expenses on education, medical needs, therapy, transport, and purchase of assistive equipment. The percentage of subsidy is tiered based on monthly per capita household income (not more than PCI =$1300) and capped at a maximum of $5,000 per annum.

*This grant also falls under Support for the Elderly

<Link here>


Transport Costs Subsidies

Taxi Subsidy Scheme

The Taxi Subsidy Scheme aims to defray transportation costs of PWDs by providing taxi subsidies for those of whom are only able to travel by taxi for school and work. Subsidy rates are means-tested, allowing significant subsidies based on monthly household income.

Per Capita Monthly

Household Income

Subsidy Rate
Singapore Citizen Permanent Resident
$0 to $700 50% 25%
$701 to $1,100 40% 20%
$1,101 to $1,600 30% 15%
$1,601 to $1,800 20% 10%
$1,801 to $2,600 0% 0%
$2,601 and above 0% 0%

<Link here>

VWO Transport Subsidy for Persons with Disabilities

The VWO Transport Subsidy for Persons with Disabilities provides subsidised transport options for PWDs for those of whom who regularly use dedicated transport services provided by VWOs to attend their school and care service. Like the Taxi Subsidy Scheme, the VWO Transport Subsidy is provided based on PCI.

Per Capita Monthly Household Income Subsidy Rate

 (Singapore Citizen)

Subsidy Rate

(Permanent Resident)

$0 to $700 80% 55%
$701 to $1,100 75% 55%
$1,101 to $1,600 60% 40%
$1,601 to $1,800 50% 30%
$1,801 to $2,600 30% 0%
$2,601 and above 0% 0%

<Link here>


Assistive Technology Grants

SG Enable’s Assistive Technology Fund (ATF)/ Special Assistance Fund (SAF)

The Assistive Technology Fund (ATF) provides subsidies for PWDs to acquire, replace, upgrade or repair assistive technology devices that aid in daily living. Successful applicants qualify for a means-tested subsidy of up to 90% of the cost of the required equipment, subject to a lifetime cap of $40,000.

<Link here>

For adults who are unemployed, application is made to Special Assistance Fund SAF. The per capita net monthly household income is ≤$1,300.

* Any other fund administered by NCSS, SG Enable, or Agency for Integrated Care (AIC) for the same purpose would disqualify an applicant from the SAF.

<Link here>

SPD’s Assistive Technology Loan Library

The Assistive Technology Loan Library (AT Loan Library) has a wide range of AT devices available for loan or for the purpose of trial use, training and temporary accommodation. Loans are extended to people with disabilities as well as professionals working with people with disabilities. Deposit and nominal renting fees apply.

<Link here>

Support for the Elderly

HDB’s Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE)

The Enhancement for Active Seniors (EASE) programme, part of the Home Improvement Programme (HIP), was rolled out separately and offered to all towns in March 2013. Catered to the elderly, especially those who require assistance for one or more of the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) with  improvement items such as slip-resistant treated tiles, or grab bars, to make flats more elder-friendly and improve mobility and comfort for elderly residents. The programme is greatly subsidised, and depending on the type of flat you live in (as per table below), can cover up to 95% of the total cost.

Per Capita Monthly

Household Income

Subsidy Rate
Singapore Citizen Permanent Resident
$0 to $700 90% 65%
$701 to $1,100 65% 50%
$1,101 to $1,800 40% 30%
$ $1,801 and above 0% 0%

Figures are estimates and subject to change

<link here>

Singapore Silver Pages is a one-stop resource on Community Care information to help you make informed care choices by making it easier to find the information you need. SSP is the first portal to integrate social care, healthcare, mental health and caregiving resources under one roof for seniors, caregivers and care decision makers. The following are some schemes listed in SSP’s portal.

Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme (PioneerDAS)

The Pioneer Generation Disability Assistance Scheme (PioneerDAS) is part of the Pioneer Generation Package, which honours the contributions of Singapore’s pioneers towards  the development of the country. Under this scheme, pioneers with disabilities can receive $100 a month, which they can use for expenses.  The care recipient must be a pioneer living in Singapore and require permanent help in at least three ADL

<link here>

Seniors’ Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF)

The Seniors’ Mobility and Enabling Fund (SMF) provides holistic support for seniors on low income by extending three different subsidies to Singaporean seniors with different needs.

  1. The SMF subsidy for Assistive Devices provides financial assistance to those requiring mobility and assistive devices for daily independent living. To qualify for the subsidy, the elderly has to be a Singaporean citizen aged 60 or older, assessed by a medical professional, and making claims for the device in its category for the first time.
  1. The SMF subsidy for Transport aids seniors’ transportation cost for attending any day services at the Ministry of Health-funded Eldercare Centres, Dialysis Centres or Day Hospices. The elderly must be assessed to require a wheelchair, any form of special transport, walking aides, or assistance when travelling, and must not be already getting subsidies for the same transport service.


  • The SMF subsidy for Home Healthcare Items alleviates the costs of healthcare items by providing subsidies for products such as milk supplements, adult diapers, and wound dressing. The elderly must be receiving healthcare services at home or at the Singapore Programme for Integrated Care for the Elderly (SPICE) Centre, and must be assessed to determine the type of healthcare items required.

<link here>

Caregivers Training Grant (CTG)

The Caregivers Training Grant (CTG) is a $200 annual subsidy that helps defray the cost of training caregivers who need to acquire capabilities  to better care for and cope with the physical and socio-emotional needs of the person with disability whom they are caring for. The caregiver must be a person in charge of the care recipient, who in turn has to be at least 65 years of age or has a disability as assessed by a doctor.

*This grant also falls under Study/Training Bursaries and Grants.

<link here>

Wan Boo Sow Charity Fund

The Wan Boo Sow Charity Fund aims to provide financial assistance to needy students studying in polytechnics, PWDs, and homebound elderly. Financial assistance is provided for homebound frail seniors who require help with expenses ranging from personal care to meals, and even escort services. The percentage of subsidy is tiered based on monthly per capita household income (not more than PCI =$1300) and capped at maximum of $5,000 per annum.

*This grant also falls under Study/ Training Bursaries and Grants.

<Link here>

Savings Schemes

Special Needs Savings Scheme

The Special Needs Savings Scheme is a way for parents to set aside funds from their CPF savings by nominating their child with special needs to be entitled to their savings so the child can receive a regular stream of fixed payouts upon their demise.

<link here>

Activity Centres and Disability Homes

Residential Care Services At Children Disability Homes

The Residential Care Services At Children Disability Homes are for children under 16, diagnosed with congenital disabilities, and without caretakers. Not only do these homes provide the children with the option of staying for short or long periods of time, they also enable the children to undergo therapy and training, as well as participate in recreational activities that will help to maximise their abilities. There are four different centres providing different services, so it is important to choose one that best suits the child’s needs. The fees at these disability homes are means-tested, entitling families to subsidies according to their income per capita.

<link here>


Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled

The Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled caters to beneficiaries aged between 18 and 55 who are diagnosed with intellectual impairment such as Down’s Syndrome, Autism and developmental delay. Programmes at the activity centre are individually designed to help each person achieve maximum gains in his/ her abilities. Like Residential Care Services at Children Disability Homes, the Metta Day Activity Centre for the Intellectually Disabled is also means-tested for fees, providing families with substantial subsidies.

<link here>


We hope this list of financial assistance and/or related schemes PWDs can apply for would be useful. Once again, we recognise that the list is not exhaustive and there might have been updates since we ended our research. We have made deliberate attempts to look for schemes spanning a wide categorical spectrum so as to hopefully provide you with help in the area you are looking for.

Stay up to date  with the Singapore disabilities community

There is a large community of people with disabilities here in Singapore, and they are not always visible to the rest of the population. So if you would like to be to be a part of a community that openly celebrates the beautiful gift and unlimited potential of persons with disabilities and stay up to date with the community, sign up for the newsletter in the link below. Together, we can connect entire communities of people to a world of colours.

Sign up for the Irisada newsletter here.


*This article is written for Irisada in hopes of providing information on financial solutions for PWDs who might need financial assistance.


It’s Easy to Do Good

More than two years ago, Irisada’s founder, Tara was thrown into a state of confusion and anxiety when her daughter, Hedi was diagnosed with profound hearing loss. What did that mean? She was not sure. Her first thoughts were if Heidi would be able to communicate with her family, who did not know sign or if Heidi would have a future.

A few months later, Heidi went through a 6 hour surgery to receive her bilateral cochlear implants. This is Heidi after the surgery.


A month later, Heidi was ’switched on’. This was Heidi on her first day of ’cochlear implanted hearing’ (if we do not consider the period she was fitted with hearing aids). Just a side note, she has a birth age and a ’hearing age’. Heidi is three now so her hearing age is about two years old. Look at the video and you can see that she was a little disturbed by the sound stimulation. She probably is not used to that amount of stimulation. However, every kid is different and might or might not respond similarly.

Fast forward two years later, she is now able to speak three languages. She is also able to articulate fairly complex english sentences. It has been a challenging but amazing journey. With alot of support from therapists and kindergarten teachers, family and friends, Heidi has progressed leaps and bounds. Therefore, during her third birthday, mom and dad decided to do three things, for each year of blessing,  to give back to the society.

Heidi donated a part of her birthday money to Children’s Cancer Foundation of Singapore ( . Mom set up a campaign ( on her behalf and collected some funds from friends and family. Both the donating and campaign set up process was very straight forward and quick.


Mommy donated her hair to a Florida organisation called ’Locks of Love’ ( that makes wigs for children with any medical condition who need hair pieces. The Singapore version of such an organisation no longer accepts hair so her hair travelled across the globe and thankfully will benefit another kid in need. This process was easy too, except having to sit through 2 hours in a salon with a not so skilled stylist, her usual guy was not available that day. She did not waste her time though, she picked out all her grey hairs from the ponytail, which was alot from caring for such a strong-willed little imp. Here is the certificate of appreciation. Mom was overjoyed when she received it in her email.


Daddy donated blood at the bloodbank in Westgate. It was a fairly quick and convenient process. It was a quick registration and a simple checkup to make sure he was well. The environment was really nice and clean with panoramic view of the Jurong area. This was his #needleface. He refused to show how much it hurt, male ego at stake, need we say more.

And that was what Heidi and her folks did for her third birthday, and of course there was a big party since we should celebrate every happy thing in life! Time to brainstorm what fun stuff for Heidi’s next birthday. This time its 4 and it gets more challenging each year! 🙂

Note: To those who would like to donate their hair, do take note that there are certain criteria to fulfil. To those who would like to donate blood, there also are some criteria to fulfil, therefore do check them out before you make a trip down to the blood bank.


Singtel Future Makers Incubation Journey Thus Far

We haven’t really been sharing much of the incubation journey so far so here are some pics.


This is during the Community Event whereby Andrew Buay, the VP of Singtel Group CSR gives some pointers about getting corporate engagement for social enterprises. There was a sign interpreter and live captioning. If only all events had such accessibility options, this world will be such a better place wouldn’t it?



That is Janice and Tara working on further refining their value to their customers at the Product Development workshop. Lotsa good tips to further improve the brand name and offering of Irisada to our customers!

Once again, thanks to Singtel for this opportunity and Unframed for the coaching

Preparing Heidi for Kindie Part II (If all else fails)

So in the last post Heidi’s mom gave some tips about getting your kid and yourself, as a parent, ready for kindergarten. And as much as we can plan and preempt, as Murphy would have it, things do not always go as planned. Sh*t happens! As expected, well not really as Heidi’s mom thought she had everything sorted out.

So what happened? Even though kindie was somewhat briefed about Heidi’s hearing condition and how to manage her devices, somehow a curveball got thrown their way and they messed up. Mommy had to rush off one morning for a meeting and Heidi had to choose that morning to throw a tantrum and grandma had to rush off for work. The same day, there was water play and Heidi needed her Aqua+ solution. Mommy briefed one of the teacher how to put it on and had to rush off. On hindsight, the teacher did look bit uncomfortable being tasked with this responsibility but didn’t protest verbally in any way.

That afternoon, one of the teachers called and said the device was blinking orange light. For those who do not know how a cochlear implant works, if the processor blinks green, it means they are working right and connected to the implant. If it blinks orange, it means something is wrong with the connection. Either the left and right side are switched, the battery is low or the connection is damaged. Mommy did a FaceTime with the teacher and still they couldn’t seem to troubleshoot. So she Uber-ed down right away only to find out that the teachers have damaged her processors. They plugged in the coil the wrong way! Both processors!

She called Heidi’s therapist right away and her lovely therapist immediately set up and audiology appointment for her. Lucky for them, there were spare new processors on hand and Heidi’s was under warranty. The alternate scenario would have been pretty distressing: forking out  $20k for both processors and potentially of a few days of bad signing and no hearing for Heidi. A slight problem was that they did not have Heidi’s latest CI mapping program on hand and had to use the old program which was not as updated and compatible for her hearing.

Lessons learnt if you are travelling to a new place or starting kindergarten:

  1. Always have your child’s CI audiology mapping ready in your email so that you can share it with the local audiologist.
  2. Have a contact of the therapist or audiologist or the agent dealing with the device and reach out to them as early as you can so that they are familiar with your child and are able to help them right away if any problem crops up.
  3. If there isn’t warranty for the device, make sure insurance covers most scenarios. Find out what the claims process is like to avoid any unnecessary delays.
  4. With regards to new teachers dealing with the devices, do not assume what seems obvious to you would be to them. Encourage them to ask questions and look out for non-verbal cues of the care-giver. If they do not seem comfortable, address their discomfort right away. Do not take any chances. We do not want our child to ‘lose’ their hearing due to mishandling from caregivers.

With that said, it wasn’t entirely the kindie’s fault. Many local kindies in Singapore are not organised in a way that ensures there are trained personnels to care for kids who need additional attention unlike the ones in Norway. Let’s hope to slowly change the preschool care with every unique child that comes their way. Hopefully, raising more awareness and bringing about a systemic change to the status quo.

Preparing Heidi for Singapore Kindie

As we are one month into the Singtel Futuremakers incubation programme, activities and workload intensify. As busy as Tara, our founder, is, she’s got to get Heidi, her daughter, used to the life in Singapore for the next couple of months.

Despite the jetlaggedness (is that even a word?) of the kids, she drags herself and Heidi to a kindergarten that she found. Thank god for them, as many kindergartens are not ready to accept kids for short periods, or already have a long waiting list and long, we are talking about a year. And we thought Singapore has a low birth rate issue.

After the first bout of good luck, comes a reality check. The first problem she faced, kindergartens in Singapore are not as well prepared to care for kids with special needs. But thankfully, this kindergarten is willing to try. So after gaining some experience from Norway, where Heidi goes to school, and some help from Singapore therapists and advice from her Norwegian therapists, she’s compiled a short list of some tips to prepare your kid and yourself for kindergarten.

  1. Look for a smaller kindergarten so that teachers manage lesser kids and a dedicated teacher can pay more attention to your child.
  2. Rooms should have good sound proofing and floors should preferably be carpeted. If that’s not possible, suggest the kindergarten to put paddings on chairs to reduce the noise level.
  3. Conduct a session to educate teachers about the devices and the child’s condition. Better still, bring in a therapist before your child starts the kindergarten.
  4. For older kids, it would be great to conduct a learning session for the rest of the children about hearing loss and the devices. Present it in a positive and light-hearted tone.
  5. Bring in a therapist after a few weeks to conduct an observation.
  6. Always have her teachers’s mobile number and make sure they have yours.
  7. This list is not exhaustive but since we promised it would be short, one more thing we thought was useful is to create a poster so that teachers and other kids can read about hearing loss and the devices. We have attached the sample in this post for your reference. (psst, the daddy made it, so it isn’t all that professional looking. But nonetheless kudos to him and all copyrights are his.)


We apologise if the image is not clear enough on wordpress. If you would like a copy, simply email Tara at I’m sure she is more than willing to share the original copy.

Below is the chinese version, since most Singapore kindergartens are bilingual.


We hope you enjoyed this post and do check out our Facebook page  @

The Purple Parade

Things have been pretty purple in Singapore this last week. The skyline has been lit up with 19 buildings going purple in solidarity with the purple parade movement. If you haven’t seen them you can check out the photos here All the hype has been leading up to the purple parade, a gathering to show ability and inclusion of those with special needs here in Singapore.


Our first impression of the parade was simply WOW it is busy! There was a sea of purple shirts and purple hats, around 10,000 people according to the strait times. It felt like this movement deserved more space than they had, you could have taken over a whole block with the parade alone. We turned up just as the parade started, shouts and drum beats filling the air as people held their banners high and marched forward.


The parade ended a short while away at an outdoor stage where there was a mixture of speeches and performances. A number of top politicians were there too, including the deputy prime minister and mayor of central Singapore district. The performances showed the talent of the special needs community, with musical performances including a percussive group and a modern interpretation of flamenco. Quite a mix!


After viewing the performances we moved on to the shopping. Stalls were set up to showcase handicrafts, baked goods and art created by the special needs community. Even salted egg crisps! (which if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived). We ended up buying some rather delicious cakes.picture4

The atmosphere in the parade was great, there were areas set up so people could sit and watch the shows on a nearby screen if they’re tired, swing bench’s wreathed in flowers, and a lady entertaining the kids with a large bubble net. There was even a small area for boccia, a game I’d never seen before a bit like boules but for wheelchair users.


All in all the parade was great and showed how many people here care about the special needs community. I’ve no doubt next time it will be even better.

In the Press

We got mentioned…

On SingTel’s News Release

and E27

Singtel Future Makers 2016

We are excited to share that we have been awarded by Singtel to be part of their Future Makers program. This is an incubation programme targeting social startups. It lasts for 6 months and aims to help businesses achieve robust business models by the end of the period.

Here is us with the giant cheque! We are looking forward to this journey ahead. Stay tuned as we share more of our journey throughout the incubation. Also, look out for our line-up of interesting stories ahead.



A big hello!

Hello and Welcome to our blog! Here we will keep you updated on everything Irisada. Like the products we find exciting, stories we find interesting and the trials and tribulations of our journey from an idea, to a global marketplace connecting thousands of people and sellers.

So…. Who and what is Irisada?

Tara first came up with the idea after the birth of her daughter Heidi, who was born with hearing problems. In her own words:

The first diagnosis brought a lot of anxiety and confusion. I thought life would never be the same again.

That was true but not necessarily in a bad way. We were lucky in many ways and mostly because we live in this decade. There are many solutions and smart ideas except they are not always easily accessible. But they are out there. I found many different ideas and products to help in managing my child’s condition to meet the demands of our day-to-day activities. The search was not always easy, and I felt this had to be a problem for all parents and care-givers of people with special needs. Which is why I decided to create Irisada.”

Our vision is to create a place where worries are replaced with solutions from around the world. Life dealing with Special Needs is a somewhat different journey. Irisada means ‘iridescent’ which means luminous colours that change, depending on which angle you look. That is how we view the challenging but meaningful journey people dealing with disabilities face.

Irisada is a marketplace selling specialised products as well as a community of people sharing their stories and advice. There are a lot of unique solutions to daily living problems which are hard to find, and we hope to make it much simpler for you to be fully informed of your options. Through merging the global market into one place we also hope to improve the quality of the products via promotion of innovation through showing manufacturers not just the size of the market out there, but also the needs and opinions of the market.

Smaller businesses and sole traders are also important to us. We know how difficult it is to sell through general online marketplaces, which can be confusing and overcrowded. As a small seller, you can try your hardest and still only make it to page 10 on the mainstream marketplaces. One of our first initiatives is called “made by mums”, a special label dedicated to supporting mothers and their creations.

People’s experiences and stories of their life with disabilities are incredibly important. The scariest thing can be what you don’t know, like how your life will be affected in the future. The experiences of others give us information on how to deal with situations, comfort us when we are scared and show us how other people don’t just keep going but really live. Irisada has a space for everyone to share their stories and share in the lives of other people, which we hope you (whoever you are) will contribute to!

So there it is. Irisada. We hope this site helps you!

If you’d like to help us improve Irisada we really want to hear from you! Use the link below to fill in our survey and suggest ideas you’d like to see happen.