Oral Answer by SPS Rahayu Mahzam to PQ on Whether the Public Trustee May Be Empowered to Provide Caregivers of Individuals Who Have not Made Lasting Powers of Attorney and Have Become Mentally Disabled, with Access to Government Grants
09 Nov 2022 Posted in Parliamentary speeches and responses
Mr Murali Pillai (Member of Parliament for Bukit Batok SMC)
To ask the Minister for Law whether the Public Trustee may be empowered to provide caregivers of individuals who have not made Lasting Powers of Attorney and have become mentally disabled, with access to Government grants provided for the benefit of the mentally disabled individuals, such as Assurance Package for GST and the GST Voucher Scheme.
- A number of Government payouts such as the Assurance Package for GST (Assurance Package) and the GST Voucher Scheme (GSTV) are disbursed directly to the bank accounts of individuals via PayNow-NRIC or direct bank transfers.
- Where individuals have lost mental capacity but do not have a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA), they require protection against unauthorised withdrawals from their bank accounts. Deputyship offers such protection by ensuring that the deputy is only granted powers in the specific decisions where the individual lacks capacity, for example, by allowing a deputy to withdraw the Government payouts credited to the mentally incapacitated individual’s bank account for the benefit of the said individual.
- As shared with the Member during the sitting last month, the Family Justice Courts (FJC) have introduced a Simplified Track, which makes deputyship applications much easier, faster and more affordable. FJC has also worked with DBS to create a further expedited track for caregivers who require emergency funding. Under this process, caregivers can apply at one of four POSB branches for a court order to make a one-time withdrawal of up to $5,000 in emergency funds, without having to attend court.
- The above notwithstanding, the Government is aware that some caregivers may face difficulties in accessing bank accounts of persons who have lost mental capacity in the absence of an LPA or deputyship. We will consider how to streamline the processes for caregivers to access such grants at the scheme level where possible, without compromising the protection of the individuals. If necessary, we will study the possibility of the Public Trustee playing a role in this regard.
- To facilitate access to Government payouts by caregivers in the event of unforeseen mental incapacity, members of the public are strongly encouraged to make an LPA. They will soon be able to do so faster and more easily through the Office of the Public Guardian online portal from 14 November 2022 and Singaporeans making an LPA using LPA Form 1 can benefit from the fee waiver that has been extended till 31 March 2023.
Last updated on 09 November 2022