A Singaporean Guide: Grants, Subsidies and Financial Support at Every Life Stage
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A Singaporean Guide: Grants, Subsidies and Financial Support at Every Life Stage

Ming Feng
1022
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What does it mean to be Singaporean?

At every life stage that we go through, there are existing grants and schemes that are in place to help us with certain needs.

As we await every year’s Budget’s announcement in February, it got us thinking about all the possible grants, subsidies and financial support from the government one get to enjoy throughout their lives.

Writer’s Note: In case you are wondering, I am not a Government’s mouthpiece. But hey, free money! Nuff said.


Grant, Subsidies and Financial Support for Singaporeans

We Are Singapore, Singaporeans.

We are Singapore, Singaporeans
Source: Timeout

Navigating and managing the personal finance aspect of life is not an easy task. With the grants, subsidies and financial support available, a part of that burden can be offloaded.

Grants, subsidies and financial support for singaporeans


Singaporeans growing up

Your Life Journey as a Singaporean (And Its Perks)

 

Pacifier milk bottle

When You Are Just a Baby

Grant, Subsidies and Financial AssistanceAmount
Child Development Account
(CDA, dollar-for-dollar matching)
$3,000 - $15,000
MediSave Grant$4,000

Congrats to your parents for receiving a baby bonus when you are born! We will get to that when you become a parent in the later part of your life.

Focusing on the benefits that rightfully belong to you, you get a dollar-for-dollar matching in your bank account should your parents fully utilise the CDA benefits. If you are the first or second child the maximum Dollar-for-Dollar Matching (DCA) amount will be $3,000 for your Child Development Account. This amount will increase to $9,000 for the third and fourth child.

As for the fifth child and more, that amount increases to $15,000.

As a Singapore Citizen newborns, you will automatically get a CPF MediSave account opened for you. Your very first CPF MediSave top-up will be a $4,000 MediSave Grant for Newborns (MGN).


As a kid, preschool

Your First School

Grant, Subsidies and Financial AssistanceAmount
Full-day Infant Care Basic Subsidy$600
Full-day Infant Care Maximum Additional Subsidy$40 - $710
Full-day Childcare Basic Subsidy$300
Full-day Childcare Maximum Additional Subsidy$80 - $467
Kindergarten Maximum KiFAS$21 - $170

Off you go, to your first school and receive your first education. Throughout this journey from infant care, child care, preschool to kindergartens, there are subsidies available for your parents. With you benefitting from it, it is only right that we attribute those subsidies to you.

There are various types of subsidies you can go for during your early childhood days:

  • Full-day Infant Care Subsidies (Basic and additional)
  • Full-day Childcare Subsidies (Basic and additional)
  • Kindergarten Maximum KiFAS

notebook

When You Receive Education

Grant, Subsidies and Financial AssistanceAmount
Annual Primary school Edusave Top-up$230
Annual Secondary school Edusave Top-up$290
Free Primary School EducationWorth $14,760
MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS)Waiver of school fees

Waiver of standard miscellaneous fee ($6.50 per month)

Free textbooks and school uniform

50% off school bus fares

$120 transport credit per year for public transport

$2 per meal subsidy of school means (applicable to 7 meals per school week)

Every Singapore Citizen will have an Edusave account created for them.

If you are a citizen studying in MOE-funded schools, you will receive an annual contribution to your Edusave starting from your primary school education. This annual Edusave contribution will end when you complete your secondary school education.

If you are a citizen studying in a school that is not MOE-funded, the annual Edusave contribution starts from 7 years old and ends at 16. Children enrolled in privately-funded schools, madrasahs and those home-schooled or studying abroad are entitled to this too.

Edusave account also generates an interest rate pegged to the Central Provident Fund (CPF) Ordinary Account rate which is at 2.5% now.

On top of that, Primary school education is absolutely free for Singaporeans.

Comparing this to the $205 monthly school fees that Singapore PRs are paying, a Singaporean primary school student gets to enjoy primary school education worth $14,760 for free.

Lastly, there is a MOE Financial Assistance Scheme (FAS) for students eligible for it.

To be eligible, the student needs to be:

  • A Singapore Citizen
  • Attending government or government-aided schools
  • From a monthly gross household income of $2,750 or less, or a monthly per capita income of $690 or less.

For Polytechnic, Universities and Arts Institutions students, there are also tuition grant schemes available depending on your course.


Military tank

When Serving the Nation

Grant, Subsidies and Financial AssistanceAmount
NS Home Awards
(Completion of full-time NS)
$3,000 - $3,500 into Post-Secondary Education Account (PSEA)

$2,000 into CPF Medisave Account (MA)
NS Home Awards
(Completion of 3 high key or 5 ORNS years)
$3,000 - $3,500 into CPF Ordinary Account (OA)

$2,000 into CPF Medisave Account (MA)
NS Home Awards
(Completion of ORNS training cycle)
$3,000 - $3,500 into CPF Ordinary Account (OA)

$2,000 into CPF Medisave Account (MA)

Serving the nation is not entirely a bad thing despite it taking up two years of your life.

On top of the ability to save a portion of your NS allowance, the National Service HOusing, Medical and Education (NS HOME) Awards that are disbursed at 3 milestones in the ORNS journey that comes with CPF OA and Medisave top-up is definitely a huge incentive.


Ready to start a family?

Housing Singapore

Getting Your First Home

Grant, Subsidies and Financial AssistanceAmount
Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG) and Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG)Up to $80,000

Up to $40,000
(resale)
Proximity Housing Grant (PHG)Up to $30,000
Family GrantUp to $50,000
Singles GrantUp to $25,000

Depending on the type of housing that you are going for, there are grants available to help you with the cost of getting your first home.

Assuming you are a first-time applicant of a BTO or resale, there are Additional CPF Housing Grant (AHG), Special CPF Housing Grant (SHG), Family Grant and Enhanced Proximity Housing Grant to help you with the cost.

Single citizen applicants will also be eligible for Singles Grant.

 

Family potrait

Parenting

Grant, Subsidies and Financial AssistanceAmount
Baby Bonus
(Cash Gift)
1st and 2nd Baby: $8,000

3rd and 4th Baby: $10,000

5th Baby and Higher: $10,000

Make more babies and get more baby bonus benefits. We have also mentioned the Child Development Account (CDA) benefit at the top of this article.

To make things even better, there are leaves that parents are entitled to, such as Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Share Parental Leave and Extended Child Care Leave.


laptop

When at Work or Setting up Your Own Business

Grant, Subsidies and Financial AssistanceAmount
SkillsFuture Credit Top-up$500
(aged 25 and above)

Additional $500
(aged 40 to 60)
Workforce Income Supplement$1,700 - $4,000
(40% in cash, 60% in CPF)
Professional Conversion Programme (PCP)Depends
Special Employment CreditDepends
Career Support Programme (CSP)Depends
SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced SubsidyDepends
For Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
SkillsFuture Enterprise Credits$10,000
(For enterprise and workforce transformation)
Productivity Solutions Grant (PSG)Depends

Whenever we think of self-upgrading, SkillsFuture credits immediately come to mind. Be it individual or Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) there are credits available to help you with your skills upgrading needs.

For individual benefits, there is the SkillsFuture Credit Top-up for aged 25 and above to upgrade their skills. Singaporeans aged 40 to 60 will get an additional $500 SkillsFuture Top-up.

On top of that, there are also various grants and support for the working class. Here are some examples:

  • Workforce Income Supplement
    For Singapore Citizen, aged 35 and above and earn a gross monthly income of not more than $2,300.
  • Professional Conversion Programme (PCP)
    Career conversion programmes for mid-career PMETs.
  • Special Employment Credit
    Wage offsets to employers hiring Singaporean workers aged 55 and above, and earning up to $4,000. This can help boost the re-employment of Singaporeans above re-employment age.
  • Career Support Programme (CSP)
    Singapore Citizen Professionals, Managers, Executives and Technicians (PMETs) who are unemployed and looking for jobs for six months or more can take on new jobs paying a gross monthly salary of at least $4,000 ($3,600 for SMEs).
  • SkillsFuture Mid-Career Enhanced Subsidy
    Encourage Singaporeans aged 40 years old and above to upskill and reskill. They can get up to 90% of their course fees subsidised.

There is also the SkillsFuture Enterprise Credits and Productivity Solution Grant (PSG) for owners of a Small and Medium Enterprise(SME).


GST Voucher logo

GST Vouchers

These are the GST Voucher benefits that Singaporeans can look forward to, for the year 2020.

In form ofHow much?Who is eligible?When?
Solidarity Payment

($300 + $300 from August's Care & Support brought forward)
$600Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2020April 2020
Care and Support – Cash$300 or $600

($300 of August's payout is brought forward to April)
Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2020June 2020
Care and Support – Cash (Parents)$300Every adult Singaporean with at least 1 Singaporean child aged 20 and below in 2020June 2020
PAssion Card Top-up
(will be paid in cash)
$100Singaporeans aged 50 and above in 2020June 2020
GST Voucher – U-Save
(includes the one-off GST Voucher – U-Save Special Payment)
$480 to $800HDB households with at least 1 SingaporeanApril, July, October 2020 and January 2021
Further GST Voucher – U-Save$120 to $200Households with 5 or more membersOctober 2020 and January 2021
Service and
Conservancy
Charges
(S&CC) Rebate
Off set 1.5 to 3.5
months of S&CC
Eligible Singaporean households
living in HDB flats
April, July, October 2020 and January
2021
Solidarity Utilities Credit
(credited in household's utilities bills with SP Group)
$100Households with at least 1 SingaporeanJuly or August 2020
Workfare Special Payment$3,000Low-wage workers aged 35 and above in 2019July and October 2020

($1,500 each time)
GST Voucher – Cash$150 or $300Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2020 with annual income below $28,000 and annual value of property below $21,000August 2020
GST Voucher – MediSave$150 to $450Singaporeans aged 65 and above in 2020 with Annual Value of home ≤ $21,000, and do not own more than one propertyAugust 2020
Grocery Vouchers$300
(in 2020)

$100
(in 2021)
Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2020, live in 1-room and 2-room HDB flatsOctober and December 2020

2021

Now, something that everyone looks forward to, with every Budget. GST Vouchers can be broken down into various types of benefits:

  • Cash Payout
  • MediSave Top-up
  • U-Save

All of it to help Singaporeans offset the increasing cost of living in Singapore.


rocking chair

After You Retire

Grant, Subsidies and Financial AssistanceAmount
Matched Retirement Savings Scheme
(Implementing in 2021)
$600 per year
Pioneer Generation PackageMediSave top-ups annually for life,
which range from $200-$800 depending on birth cohort. (More for older cohorts)

40% - 60% off MediShield Life premiums

and many more...
Merdeka generation Package$1,000 MediSave Top-ups
($200 top-up every year for 5 years)

$100 top-up to Passion Silver Cards to be used for public transport, entry to public swimming pools, activities at Community Centres etc.

and many more...
Community Health Assist Scheme
(CHAS)
Subsidies for GP and dental clinics under CHAS
Comcare Long Term AssistanceDepends
National Silver Academy (NSA)Course at up to 50% subsidies
Home Caregiving Grant (HCG)$200 per month

Most Singaporeans would suggest that Singapore may not be the best country to retire in. Over the past years, we do see some initiatives being rolled out (though not perfect), to help Singaporeans retire better in Singapore.

To help us age and retire graciously, here are some of the benefits in place. As the packages and subsidies change from time to time, it is important to keep track of some of these initiatives that will affect us or our loved ones.

In short, free money, just take!


The System: The Good and The Bad

While creating this list of possible benefits, we realised that there is actually quite a bit of assistance out there.

While it is rather positive that there are grants, subsidies and benefits for almost every life stage for a Singaporean. Should you get a grasp of all the policies that you are entitled to, it can definitely help you save quite a big amount of money.

On the flip side, these schemes can be difficult to comprehend and hard to find. Hence, a lot more needs to be done on the social outreach and education front.

A lot of these schemes focus on extending the working lifespan of a worker. While this is great for the economy, it reduces the utility curve of a Singaporean. Not everyone will buy in the idea of re-employment if given a choice.

About Ming Feng
A stint in Bloomberg gifted me with a beer belly, which only grew larger when I moved on to become a Professional Trader. Now I turn caffeine into digestible finance-related content.
You can contribute your thoughts like Ming Feng here.

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