Budget 2014: Widow welcomes help as cost of living rises

Madam Betsy Sachariah, 80, retired kindergarten teacher

-$800 in Medisave top-ups annually

-Additional 50 per cent off subsidised bills at polyclinics and specialist outpatient clinics

-Will be placed on the Community Health Assist Scheme (Chas)

-MediShield Life premiums to be fully covered through premium subsidies and Medisave top-ups

Widow Betsy Sachariah, 80, lives alone in a single-storey terraced house in Seletar Hills and has modest savings from two decades of work as a kindergarten teacher.

The mother of three lost her technician husband to a heart attack in 1995.

As he was then working for the British Army here, Madam Sachariah today continues to receive a widow's pension of $300 a month. She also receives some help from her three children, two of whom are living overseas.

To cope with day-to-day costs, she started leasing out a room in her home last year, for $500 a month.

"Costs of living continue to rise here, so I had to do this to cope. I am very lucky that my house is fully paid for and I don't live a lavish life," she said.

Every three months, Madam Sachariah spends about $100 on medication for ailments including high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

She also suffers from a frozen shoulder and knee pains.

Her monthly utility bills set her back by about $150 a month.

Qualifying for Chas will allow her to receive subsidies from general practitioners for consultations, something she is "very happy to hear".

Having just turned 80, she is also assured that her MediShield Life premiums will be fully covered.

"I'm very at ease to hear this, I feel like I don't need to worry so much now. People think that those who own a house have plenty of savings and don't need help. I am glad the package will help those like me," she said.

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