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What is the definition of a disability?

DPA follows the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD)’s use of the terms “disability” and “persons with disabilities”.

Persons with disabilities include those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which, when in interaction with various barriers, may hinder their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Disability is defined as the result of the interaction between persons with impairments and attitudinal and environmental barriers that hinders their full and effective participation in society on an equal basis with others.

Yet, this definition of disability is not yet widely used in Singapore. On page 19 of the Singapore government’s CRPD 2016 CRPD report it states:

‘There is no uniform definition of “disability” in Singapore. There are also several pieces of domestic legislation which define “disability” in various contexts, in order to protect persons with different disabilities. For the purposes of the EM [Enabling Masterplan], persons with disabilities include all persons “whose prospects of securing, retaining places and advancing in education and training institutions, employment and recreation as equal members of the community are substantially reduced as a result of physical, sensory, intellectual and developmental impairments.”

There is also no legal definition of disability in Singapore. Instead, it is often defined in terms of eligibility to assistance schemes, which can vary depending on who the scheme is meant to support. There is some hope for a legal definition, as the Government is looking into employment discrimination legislation and DPA has met with those working on it to share the importance of including a disability definition.

What is the social model of disability?

The most frequently mentioned models of disability are the ‘medical’, ‘charity’ and the ‘social’ models. The Medical model of disability views disability as a problem that resides in the disabled individual, rather than in the environment or with others. Viewing disability as a medical problem fosters the belief that those with disabilities are in need of fixing or a cure. Framing disability in this way leads to individualised treatment of those with disabilities, rather than standardised policies, which can result in marginalisation and alienation.

The Charity Model of disability sees people with disabilities as victims of their impairment. Depending on the disability, this model portrays the people with disabilities as being unable to walk, talk, see, learn, or work. Disability is seen as a deficit, and persons with disabilities are not able to help themselves and to lead an independent life. Their situation is tragic and they are assumed to be suffering as a result of their disability. The Charity Model depicts people with disabilities as victims of circumstance, deserving of pity and in need of help from those who are not disabled. Framing disability in terms of charity fosters the view that people with disabilities are in need of long term care and support, and it is a moral or social duty to provide that care.

The Social model of disability, in contrast to the previous two models, would see the environment as the disabling barrier. This model draws on the idea that it is society that disables people by designing everything to meet the needs of the majority of people who are not disabled. There is recognition within the social model that society can do a great deal to reduce, and ultimately remove, some of these disabling barriers, and that this task is the responsibility of society, rather than the person with disability. DPA advocates for the social model of disability because it is in line with the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).


What information does DPA need from donors to process donations and issue Tax Deductible Donations (TDRs)?

DPA only collects information that it is required to properly record donations with our sector regulators and to issue TDR and NTDR receipts. This includes:

  • Full name as in NRIC/FIN or Registered company or organisation name
  • NRIC/FIN number or company UEN number
  • Email (for softcopy TDR receipt)
  • Address (for hard copy of TDR receipt)

If you do not provide this information, DPA will record the donation as a non deductible donation or as an anonymous donation.

Rest assured that we keep the information safe in accordance with the PDPA Act of 2012.

What types of donations qualify for a tax deduction?

For information on donations and eligibility for tax deduction from IRAS, please click here.

Does DPA automatically provide receipts for donations?

No. Donations are logged with the Government so if they are eligible for a tax deduction and you have provided the relevant personal or company information, you or your company will receive one the tax deduction automatically. If you would like a Tax Deductible Receipt (TDR) or Non-Tax Deductible Receipt (NTDR) for your donation please email [email protected] to request one.

If you need a receipt, DPA encourages you to request for a softcopy via email to limit DPA’s impact on the environment.

Do you need a donation receipt to get a tax deduction?

The donation details you provide will be logged with the Government. The donation deductions will be included automatically by the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) in your individual or corporate tax assessment. You do not need a receipt in order to get your tax deduction. However, if you require it for other purposes DPA will provide the receipt. To reduce our environmental impact DPA recommends you opt for the email receipt if you require it.

How long does it take to get a donation receipt?

Please note that the TDR and NTDR receipts can take up to a month to be issued and sent to you. For any clarifications, please do not hesitate to contact us via email at [email protected].


How do I give feedback, make suggestions or submit a complaint?

DPA welcomes feedback, regardless of whether it is positive or negative. We are always looking to improve in how we advocate for the disability community. Please email [email protected] with your feedback, suggestions or complaints.


How do I apply for DPA Membership?

Application Procedure

Ordinary, Life, Youth and Associate Membership:

Step 1: Download the DPA membership form that is relevant to you

Step 2: Fill in the form

Step 3: For disabled applicants, do obtain proof of permanent disability, either a medical professional’s note or a photograph of your membership card from another disability organisation.

Step 4: Email the completed form and proof of disability, if relevant, to DPA at [email protected]. Proof of disability is not needed for Associate membership.

Step 5: Send your membership fee to DPA either via PayNow, bank transfer or send a cheque by post.

Step 6: Your membership application will be reviewed at the next DPA Board of Management meeting.

Please note that the Board of Management may approve or reject any application for membership at its sole discretion. If an application is not approved the membership fee shall be refunded to the applicant.

Step 7: DPA will email you to notify you about the outcome of your application. If it is successful, you will be emailed your new member information.

Institutional Membership – Application Procedure

Step 1: Download the DPA membership form that is relevant to you.

Step 2: Fill in the form.

Step 3: Email the completed form to [email protected].

Step 4: Your membership application will be reviewed at the next DPA Board of Management meeting.

Please note that the Board of Management may approve or reject any application for membership at its sole discretion.

Step 5: DPA will email you to notify you about the outcome of your application. If it is successful, you will be emailed your new member information.

How soon can I get my DPA membership after applying?

All membership applications have to be approved by DPA’s Board of Management at one of its quarterly meetings, so applicants will not receive their membership immediately upon application. For those who require proof of membership urgently, DPA can issue a letter indicating your membership status.

How can I pay my DPA membership fees?

DPA Payment Methods:


Address the cheque to “Disabled People’s Association” or “DPA“, crossed Account Payee Only and mail it to 1 Jurong West Central 2, #04-01 Jurong Point Shopping Centre, Singapore 648886.

Deliver Cash in Person

Deliver the Cash to DPA’s office at 1 Jurong West Central 2, #04-01 Jurong Point Shopping Centre, Singapore 648886. Do not mail cash to DPA.

Bank Transfer

Transfer to DPA’s DBS Account Number: 033-016455-6


PayNow to DPA UEN S86SS0002F (Disabled People’s Association)

For bank transfer and PayNow payments please email [email protected] with details of your payment so we can be sure to track it.

How do I withdraw my DPA membership?

Any member desiring to withdraw their membership of the DPA shall give a month’s notice in writing to the Board of Management. The DPA member who withdraws their membership will not be entitled to a refund on any subscription fee paid in advance.

Disability Awareness Training

How can I train my team of staff to be more supportive and inclusive of the disability community?

Disabled People’s Association offers workshops and experiential activities to corporates, schools, religious institutions and government bodies as part of our Disability Awareness Training Series (DATS). Since its inception, DATS has reached over 8000 individuals in Singapore.

Click here to read more about the services DATS offer

Inclusion Ambassadors

Who can sign up to be an Inclusion Ambassador?

You have to be a DPA member with a disability to be an Inclusion Ambassador.

What is involved and how long does it take to train to be an Inclusion Ambassador?

Step 1: DPA will invite DPA members to become Inclusion Ambassadors via member email blasts every year, usually in February and June. To apply, please reply to that email.

Step 2: DPA will review the applications and contact selected candidates on the training dates and the DPA member’s learning needs.

Step 3: Training will take around fivemonths; this involves a basic training session followed by interactive practice sessions.

Step 4: If the DPA member passes the training, they will graduate to become an Inclusion Ambassador and will be being paid for their engagements.

All the training sessions are co-created with people with disabilities. We offer blended sessions (physical and virtual) for our IA recruitment, training and engagements. We employ inclusive and learner-centered approaches to train our participants. On-the-job training will take place during various projects, group events or social gatherings. Resources are provided by DPA for the candidate to flourish as an Inclusion Ambassador. DPA does not charge our members for this training programme.


Can I organise a fundraising event on behalf of DPA?

Absolutely! DPA welcomes you to join us in our fundraising efforts to make a difference in the lives of the disabled community.

Start your own fundraising campaign and make it personal – tell your friends, family, and co-workers why you have chosen to advocate for the disabled community. Simply create an online campaign here with us!

Alternatively, you can download the fundraising proposal form to share your ideas and email to [email protected]. Our team will be in touch within 3-5 days.


What is the qualification to be a volunteer?

There is none! Here at DPA, our doors are always open to those who share our passion in advocating for the disabled community.

What are the different volunteering opportunities available?

DPA needs volunteers in various areas including administration, photography, videography and graphic designing work. Regardless of your background, training or skills set, you can be sure there’s always a way you can contribute to the cause.

DPA has partnered with Givlly so you can sign up to be a volunteer via the app which lists our range of volunteering opportunities. Sign up through the DPA Givlly app.