A One-Stop Guide For PWDs: Grants, Training, Employment, and Unit Trusts Available [Money FM 89.3]
More than 25% of people aged 15 to 62 who have disabilities are employed, according to the annual Comprehensive Labour Force Survey.
The sectors employing most of these people are community, social and personal services, food services, administrative and support services, and manufacturing. But what can we do to increase this number and encourage more companies to hire PWDs?
And how can PWDs seek the training and grants they need to help them to get employed?
We discuss with Winnie Lewis, Manager at SG ENABLE (Employment & Employability division), Rachel Yeo, Content Strategist at Seedly, Kenneth Lou, Co-founder of Seedly, and Michelle Martin, speaker and host of Money FM 89.3.
For those who wish to listen to the full podcast, you can check it out below.
For those who prefer to have a quick read about our discussion over radio, here you go!
TL;DR: Grants, Training, Employment, and Unit Trusts Available For PWDs
- Challenges Faced By Persons With Disabilities
- Subsidies and Schemes Available To Help Stretch Their Dollar
- Training And Employment Opportunities Available For PWDs
- Gaining access to assistive technology
- Companies That Hire PWDs: Government Support, Help and Incentives
- Caregiver Support: Unit Trusts and Saving Schemes Available
Challenges Faced By Persons With Disabilities
Getting Employed In Singapore
While there are more and more businesses looking towards hiring of PWDs, there are still PWDs facing problems accessing employment due to a few reasons. First, PWDs are fazed with difficulties finding jobs due to existing social stigmatization. It is also common to hold a negative stereotype that PWDs can only work simple, low-wage tasks.
Another great challenge faced by PWDs would be that current workplaces are not designed and optimised for PWDs to work in. Most of the time, these workplaces are designed by able-bodied employers, and may not be suitable for PWDs.
Financial Difficulties Encountered by PWDs and Their Caregivers
Financial difficulties PWDs and their caregivers face are rather multi-faceted, and it can vary from person to person depending on their type of disability. In general, some of their main problems include getting insurance coverage, having to bear the brunt of medical and consultation costs, and accessing employment. Costs aside, caregivers of PWDs are also worried about what would happen to their loved ones in an event that they passed on.
Subsidies and Schemes Available To Help Stretch Their Dollar
In this portion, Seedly and SG Enable mainly talked about schemes such as the Public Transport Schemes and the Developmental Disability Registry (DDR) Identity (ID) Card. Winnie also mentioned an Enabling Guide, which provides a one-stop resource on the schemes available that can help PWDs save a bit of money.
Training And Employment Opportunities For PWDs
In this section, Winnie spoke extensively on some of the schemes and help available for persons with disabilities to gain employment. This includes subsidised training to promote skills deepening so that persons with disabilities can compete for viable jobs in the workforce, addressing the misperception that PWDs are only employed in low skilled jobs.
Many of these schemes are subsidised up to 90% and covers a slew of government assistance programmes that range from job training to work placements. Should you wish to find out more on the different schemes available, you can check out this Seedly article on some of the schemes available.
There is also an Open Door Programme and a Job Redesign Grant that Persons with Disability and their employers can optimise. Here are some information on it:
SG Enable Open Door Programme
- On-the-job Training Grant to support employment and retention of PWDs
- Job Redesign Grant to support re-designing of jobs
- Purchases of equipment and workplace modification
- Training Grant for skills upgrading of PWDs and training of employees with no disabilities
- Recruitment and Job Support Services
- Full subsidy for attending SG Enable’s Disability Management Workshop
Those interested can read up more on the Open Door Programme at SG Enable’s website.
Job Redesign Grant
This grant helps employers to recruit and retain persons with disabilities by supporting up to 90% of the job redesign costs, capped at $20,000 per employee with disability. It can be used to defray the cost for the following job redesign initiatives:
- Purchase of equipment
- Workplace modifications
- Redesigning of job scopes or processes
- Consultancy Services
Gaining Access To Assistive Technology
For PWDs who need assistive technology to help them live more independently, the assistive technology fund provides subsidies of up to 90% of the cost of assistive technology devices. This is subjected to a lifetime cap of $40,000.
The Fund can be used to acquire, replace, upgrade or repair assistive technology devices. These devices include wheelchairs and hearing aids.
For those interested in applying for the fund, do head over here to find out more!
Companies That Hire PWDs: Government Support, Help and Incentives
Aside from the Open Door Programme and the Job Redesign Grant mentioned earlier, employers hiring PWDs also get to enjoy CPF Contribution Rebates under the Special Employment Credit Scheme.
To support the employment of Persons with Disabilities, employers that hire PWDs get a rebate of 16% of the employee’s monthly income, up to $240 per month respectively. You will be automatically enrolled in this scheme when you employ a person with disability.
Caregiver Support: Unit Trusts and Saving Schemes Available
When we talk about PWDs, we should never overlook their caregivers and the problems they face as well. For many caregivers, many are afraid of what would happen to their child in the event something bad happens to them.
In such scenarios, there are schemes such as the Special Needs Trust, and the Special Needs Savings Scheme will be very useful for caregivers.
The Special Needs Trust
The Special Needs Trust Company is set up to provide trust services for the benefit of persons with special needs. This is done to help enhance the financial security and well-being of PWDs.
Caregivers with PWDs can set up a Special Needs Trust, where you will be able to create a care plan, and set aside money for your child.
Those who want to create a Trust account only needs a minimum of $5000 to set up an account. You can also gift the proceeds from your property by will, and nominate your insurance policy, and CPF savings to the trust.
Special Needs Savings Scheme
Developed by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) in partnership with the CPF Board, the Special Needs Savings Scheme enables parents to set aside CPF savings for the long term care of children with special needs.
Parents may nominate their loved one with special needs to receive a regular stream of fixed CPF pay-outs upon the parent’s demise. The minimum monthly CPF payout is $250 for each nominated child with special needs. Parents may decide on a higher amount as well.
If you are looking to find out more, or apply for the Special Needs Trust or Savings Scheme, you can head over to the SNTC website for more information.
The following article is done in collaboration with Money FM 89.3 and SG Enable. I would like to thank Michelle Martin, host of Money FM, Winnie, and Priscilla from SG Enable for taking time to talk about a community of Singaporeans that are very much overlooked in today’s society.
Seedly would also like to thank the various social enterprises for reaching out and helping us in our research. In particular, the founder of Foreword Coffee, Lim Wei Jie, and Liu Kun Qi, founder of Caption Cube, for their perspectives on employing Persons with Disabilities.