You may be a financially-savvy Singaporean – you’ve got the best shopping deals at your fingertips, you know how to make the most out of your savings and you’ll never miss the annual Singapore Budget updates relevant to you. But, how much do you know about the perks that your grandparents or parents can enjoy? In fact, as Singapore shifts towards an aging society, there is much that’s available for seniors from the age of 50. Find out more below.
You probably know that senior citizens can pick up line dancing, taichi or even basic computer skills at community centres in the heartlands. At the National Silver Academy (NSA), seniors can also learn unique skills at tertiary institutions and community-based organisations. Course fees are subsidised for those aged 50 years and above, and most courses are SkillsFuture Credit eligible. For example, subsidised short courses offered include Basic First Aid for Pets, Fun with Pottery and Practical Indoor Fishkeeping & Aquascaping. With the guidance of professionals, these classes can help seniors such as Mdm Florence Chek develop a new hobby.
Mdm Chek had always wanted to make her own clothes so, learning to work an industrial sewing machine through the Fashion Design and Textiles Pattern Making and Sewing course under NSA was like a dream come true. On top of acquiring sewing techniques, the experience has also encouraged Mdm Chek to pick up other skills such as singing and ukulele#.
For those looking to contribute to society, some organisations also engage retirees to take on befriender roles. For example, at CPF Service Centres, you can find senior befrienders reaching out to other seniors and members to assist with transactions at the eLobby.
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A cinema ticket that costs an average of $10 is likely to be considered exorbitant compared to the $5 it used to be in the past. That’s why catching a movie today may seem like a luxury for our parents or grandparents. Now, with local cinemas providing concession tickets ranging from $4 at Shaw Theatres to $5 at Cathay Cineplexes, those 55 years old and above can enjoy the experience of watching a movie in the cinema at a comfortable price! The only catch is that the promotion price is only valid for movie timings on Mondays to Fridays before 6pm.
For your grandparents or parents above the age of 60, there are other entertainment destinations where they get to purchase tickets at a special price too. These include Universal Studios, Adventure Cove Waterpark and the parks under Wildlife Reserves Singapore. The list goes on so do check out the pricing details whenever you wish to bring your grandparents or parents out for a day.
‘$50 can last me a long long time.’ That’s a common sentiment for senior citizens who are benefiting from senior citizen concessionary fares. With the fare capped at $0.87^, it costs much less to travel, even from one end to the other end of Singapore. Your grandparents or parents should have automatically received an invitation pack to apply for their PAssion Silver Concession Card once they are 60 years old. They will get to enjoy cheaper fares once they receive their cards. This is on top of the People Association’s range of programmes and merchant benefits to encourage seniors to step out of their comfort zone and travel beyond their usual spots within the vicinity of home.
Did you know that your grandparents or parents can also enjoy weekly deals at all major supermarkets? Leading brands including Giant and NTUC, offer a discount of 2-3% on specific days of the week for seniors above the age of 60. Now, you can do grocery shopping as a family, stretch your dollar and spend quality time with your grandparents or parents.
Elderly Singaporeans in Singapore enjoy comprehensive healthcare subsidies. Multiple schemes including the Pioneer Generation (PG) Package, CHAS and the upcoming Merdeka Generation Package serve to support seniors of different age groups.
Under the PG Package, senior citizens also receive MediSave top-ups between $200-$800 per year to support their healthcare needs. Don’t forget to remind your grandparents or parents to bring along the PG or CHAS card when visiting the doctor to get subsidies at participating clinics.
If your parents or grandparents are still in the pink of health and would like to continue working, they have more opportunities to do so today with government support. The Special Employment Credit provides a wage-offset of 3-8% off the monthly wage of every Singaporean worker who is 55 or older and earning up to $4,000. With this scheme, it’s a win-win situation for both employers and employees. Businesses can give active seniors a chance to work beyond their retirement age and will also benefit from the additional wage offset.
Take 84 year-old Mr Goh Ah Lee as an example: He has spent almost 30 years working at a packaging and logistics company, Sin Chew Woodpaq. Even though his children are all grown up, Mr Goh is still happy to be working as it keeps him busy when his children are out working in the day. Plus, he can continue to work with long-time colleagues in a familiar environment that he is happy in*.
What’s more, CPF members will continue to receive CPF contributions from their employers regardless of age and these monies are allocated to the Ordinary, Special and MediSave Accounts according to the corresponding allocation rates. Additionally, for those earning a gross monthly income of not more than $2,000 for the month worked, they can also improve their skills under the Workfare Training Support Scheme or receive additional support under the Workfare Income Supplement (WIS) Scheme# to help build their retirement funds.
CPF Retirement Planning Service (CRPS) Payout Eligibility Age (PEA)
If your parents or grandparents are turning 65 years old in 2019, they can attend the one-to-one guidance service which is designed to help members who are reaching their payout eligibility age to better understand the options available to them as they look to start their monthly retirement payouts. Do encourage them to sign up when they receive the invite from us!
So, the next time you meet up with your folks or grandparents, share these perks with them as a great conversation starter!