Low-Income Families and Parents: Where Can You Get Financial Help?
97
shares

Low-Income Families and Parents: Where Can You Get Financial Help?

profileXue Miao
97
shares

The current economic climate has shaken the core of financial stability in many individuals.

In such situations, low-income families tend to be placed in financially stressful situations, where jobs become more uncertain too.

While losing a job is difficult for everyone, it becomes particularly stressful for families who struggle to pay for day-to-day expenses.

Especially the high costs when it comes to having a child in Singapore.

In order to help families and parents, there have been various initiatives rolled out to provide financial assistance.

As they are all over the internet, we decided to compile it into a list, for easy reference.

Do note that different schemes have different eligibility criteria, so be sure to check before applying! 🙂


TL;DR: Lower-Income or Needy Families and Parents: Where Can You Get Help?

Financial SchemeDetails
Child Development Account (CDA) First Step GrantDisburses $3,000 upfront into a child's CDA
KidSTARTProvides forms of support for child development, from birth onwards
Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA)​- Providing assistance with childcare fees
- One-time grant to cover the initial start-up costs of enrolling a child in the centre
Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)Helps parents in their children's kindergarten fees
Student Care Fee Assistance (SCFA)To make student care more affordable for families who require after-school care for their child
Fresh Start Housing Scheme (Fresh Start)Assist second-timer families with young children, and are currently living in public rental flats
Home Ownership Plus Education (HOPE) SchemeHelp small low-income families in different areas such as employment, housing, and monetary support
ComCare Short-To-Medium-Term AssistanceTemporary assistance for individuals who are unable to find work for a period of time
ComCare Long-Term AssistanceAssistance for individuals who are unable to work permanently
ComCare Interim AssistanceFor households requiring urgent and immediate help for less than 3 months
Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) Family Assistance ProgrammeHelps families cope with their basic living and education needs of their children
MENDAKI-MUIS Preschool Grant (MMPG)Lowers the cost barriers for entry to preschool, and assist mothers to return to and remain employed
Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA)Provides a wide range of services to support parents and help families in need
Singapore Teochew Foundation (STF) Hardship Assistance SchemeAssist Singaporean families when they lose the support of their sole or main breadwinner due to unforeseen circumstances

Schemes Under ComCare

ComCare is a fund by the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) that provides social assistance for low-income individuals and families.

family icon

Under ComCare, there are different schemes available to suit different needs.

For Parents

Child Development Account (CDA) First Step Grant

saving money into piggy bank

The Child Development Account (CDA) First Step grant is one that disburses $3,000 upfront into a child’s CDA.

For the uninitiated, the CDA is a special savings account for all Singaporean children, and is opened automatically when the child joins the Baby Bonus scheme.

Single parents are also eligible for this grant too!

Application details can be found here.

KidSTART

baby boy icon

KidSTART is a programme for children from low-income families to allow them to have a good start in life.

It provides new forms of support for child development, from birth onwards.

This programme has three main components – KidSTART Home Visitation, KidSTART Groups (Supported Playgroups), and KidSTART Enhanced Support to Pre-schools.

To qualify:

  • Singapore Citizen children aged up to 6 years old ​
  • Low-income household (Monthly household income of $2,500 and below)
  • Residing in one of the pilot regions​ (Kreta Ayer/Bukit Merah, Taman Jurong/Boon Lay and Geylang Serai)

Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA)​

The Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA)​ is for low-income families with difficult family circumstances, where there is difficulty in affording childcare fees even after the basic and additional subsidies.

In addition, there is an application for a one-time grant to cover the initial start-up costs of enrolling a child in the centre too.

To qualify:

  • Child should be a Singapore citizen
  • Enrolled in an affordable Child Care Centre
  • Both parents should also be working at least 56 hours per month
  • If parents are not working, to produce valid reasons for not working (e.g. on medical leave, under incarceration, or certified as a full-time caregiver)

Once eligible, parents can apply for this assistance via the child care centre.

Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)

The Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS) helps parents in their children’s kindergarten fees.

To qualify:

  • Children must be Singapore citizens attending kindergarten programmes
  • Have a gross monthly household income is $12,000 and below

Eligible low-income families may also apply for a yearly grant to cover the start-up costs of enrolling their children in the kindergarten.

Details of the amount of subsidies can be found here.

Application for KiFAS can be done through the kindergarten.

Student Care Fee Assistance (SCFA)

To enhance the affordability of student care for families who require after-school care for their child, a Student Care Fee Assistance (SCFA) scheme was introduced.

To qualify:

  • Both parents are working at least 56 hours per month
  • Total gross monthly household income is $4,500 or less, or total gross monthly household per capita income is $1,125 or less
  • Child is 7 – 14 years of age
  • Child attends a MSF-registered Student Care Centre
  • Child is a Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident (at least one immediate family member in the same household must be a Singapore Citizen)

Benefits include:

  • Monthly subsidy, with the amount dependent on the monthly household income
  • A one-off Start-Up Grant of up to $400 per child

This scheme is also applicable for children with disabilities for Special Student Care Centres (SSCC).

For Housing

house with tree and fence

Fresh Start Housing Scheme (Fresh Start)

The Fresh Start Housing Scheme (Fresh Start) is a scheme that aims to assist second-timer families with young children, and are currently living in public rental flats.

This scheme aims to help them in buying a short-lease 2-room Flexi flat through the provision of financial and social support.

Some key features of this scheme include:

Short-lease Flat
  • You can buy a short-lease 2-room Flexi flat in BTO or SBF sales exercises, which are more affordable than flats with the standard 99-year lease
  • The lease options range from 45 years to 65 years, but it must cover all owners and spouse-occupiers minimally till they are 95 years old
  • There will be a 20-year Minimum Occupation Period
Cap on Resale Levy
  • The levy is capped at $30,000
  • Will be adjusted downwards based on the length of the lease chosen
Grant
  • Fresh Start Housing Grant of $35,000
  • A $20,000 lump sum will be disbursed into eligible applicants’ CPF Ordinary Accounts just before key collection
  • The remaining grant of up to $15,000 may be disbursed into eligible applicants’ CPF Ordinary Accounts equally over 5 years, after key collection

More details and eligibility criteria can be found here.

Home Ownership Plus Education (HOPE) Scheme

The Home Ownership Plus Education (HOPE) Scheme aims to help small low-income families through the provision of support in different areas such as employment, housing, and monetary support.

Some assistance provided include:

Training and Employment

  • Training Incentives – $2,000 every 2 years (up to 3 tranches and up to $6,000 in total) to families who complete training courses that lead to better employment
  • Employment Incentives – Up to $10,000 incentives for full-time working mothers disbursed in an annual amount of $1,000 up to 10 years.

Housing and Utilities

  • Conditional Housing Grant – $60,000 disbursed in annual installments of $3,000 into the mother’s CPF account
  • Utilities Grant – $1,000 to help the family offset once-off grant to offset utilities bills (one-off)

Support for Children and Families

  • Education Bursaries – Annual bursaries of up to $3,000 for each child attending pre-school to university to help pay for their educational expenses
  • Mentoring and Family Support – Mentoring services to provide support and guide families as they work towards upgrading themselves

The eligibility criteria is as below:

Gross Household Income Married Couple  Widowed/Divorced Mother
Up to $1,700
Age of Mother 18 to 35 years
Children
  • Have at least 1, but not more than 2 biological or legally adopted children
  • All children must be Singapore citizens
  • Divorced mothers should have child custody, and care and control
Citizenship Status At least one spouse must be a Singapore citizen, and the other a Singapore citizen or Permanent Resident Singapore Citizen
Employment Status Husband is employed Employed
Education
Up to Secondary level

If any party has post-Secondary education:

  • Individual income must not exceed $1,200; and
  • Mothers must be aged 30-35 years old

To apply for this scheme, individuals can head to the nearest Social Service Office (SSG) to do so.

sounds good to me cat with shades
Source: GIPHY

There are also other ComCare schemes to suit short- to long-term financial needs.

hand holding money bag

ComCare Short-To-Medium-Term Assistance

The ComCare Short-To-Medium-Term Assistance fund provides temporary assistance for individuals who are unable to find work for a period of time, and therefore requires temporary financial help.

To qualify:

  • In the midst of looking for work, or temporarily unable to work due to illness or having to care for dependants
  • Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident (at least one immediate family member in the same household must be a Singapore Citizen)
  • Monthly household income of $1,900 and below or a per capita income of $650 and below

If you have exceeded in income according to these guidelines, you can still approach the Social Service Offices (SSOs) if you require financial help.

Assessment will be done on a case-by-case basis.

Once approved, you may receive:

  • Monthly cash assistance
  • Assistance with household bills, i.e. rental, utilities, and/or service and conservancy charges
  • Medical assistance​
  • Employment assistance such as job search and/or training
  • Referrals for other relevant services

ComCare Long-Term Assistance

Also known as public assistance, the Comcare long-term assistance is for individuals who are unable to work permanently.

To qualify:

  • Unable to work because of old age, illness or disability
  • Have little or no financial support, savings and assets for daily needs
  • Elderly persons who receive only a small monthly payout from other sources such as CPF Retirement Sum / CPF Life, and the monthly payout is lower than the prevailing LTA rates
  • Elderly persons whose children are low-income themselves, i.e have a household income of $1,900 and below, or per capita household income of $650 and below
  • Singapore Citizen or a Permanent Resident

Types of assistance provided:

  • Support for daily living expenses (cash)
  • Additional assistance for school-going children
  • Recurring essentials such as medical or hygiene consumables
  • One-off essentials such as medical equipment or household appliances
  • Medical assistance
  • Education assistance
  • Supplementary community assistance

Details to apply for both short-to-medium term and long-term assistance can be found here.

ComCare Interim Assistance

For any households that require urgent and immediate help for less than 3 months, the Interim Assistance scheme might be of great help.

To qualify:

  • Have a household income of $1,900 and below, or a per capita household income of $650 and below
  • Singapore Citizen or Permanent Resident (at least one immediate family member in the same household must be a Singapore Citizen)

For this scheme, the assistance provided would be through:

  • Cash
  • Food rations
  • Vouchers

The type, amount, and duration of the assistance will depend on the situation of your household.

There are a few locations to apply for this scheme:

Community PartnerSchemeTo Apply
Social Service Offices (SSOs)Interim Assistance FundYou can approach your nearest SSO for help
Check the MSF district locator to find the Social Service Offices which are nearest to you
Citizens' Consultative Committees (CCCs)CCC ComCare FundYou can approach your nearest Community Centre, Community Club, or your grassroots leader for help
Check the PA website to find the Community Clubs which are nearest to you
Family Service Centres (FSCs)FSC ComCare FundThis scheme is only for FSC clients
Community Justice Centre (CJC)CJC ComCare FundThis scheme is only for CJC clients

Source: Ministry of Social and Family Development


Organisations Offering Financial Aid

Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC)

Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) logo
Source: Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC)

 

The Chinese Development Assistance Council (CDAC) is a non-profit group that aims to help the less-privileged Chinese community in Singapore.

It offers programmes and assistance schemes ranging from academic support to parent education.

Some of its initiatives include:

  • Tuition & Enrichment Programme
  • Holiday Programmes
  • Project Aspirar (Career guidance)
  • CDAC – SFCCA Bursary
  • CDAC – SFCCA Hardship Assistance Fund Scheme

For needy families, CDAC offers the CDAC Family Assistance Programme, which helps families cope with their basic living and education needs of their children.

This assistance may include:

  • Financial assistance in essential household bills, such as rental, utilities, childcare fee, student care fee, etc.
  • Grocery vouchers to cope with daily living needs
  • Guidance in job search and skills upgrading
  • Enrichment programmes for children
  • Family bonding activities

To qualify:

  • Applicant or at least family member, who lives in the same household, is a Chinese Singapore Citizen/Permanent Resident
  • Gross monthly household income not exceeding $2,400 or gross per capita income not exceeding $800

Interested candidates can check out the range of programmes and initiatives offered here.

MENDAKI-MUIS

The MENDAKI-MUIS Preschool Grant (MMPG) is targeted to low-income families with children below 6 years old who are enrolled in preschool.

It aims to lower the cost barriers for entry to preschool, and assist mothers to return to and remain employed.

This grant encourages a-dollar-a-day saving in the CDA, as elaborated below:

MENDAKI-MUIS Preschool Grant (MMPG) infographic
Source: MENDAKI

The application for this grant runs from April 2020 to Jan 2023.

Eligible candidates can download the form and forward it to the emails indicated here.

Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA)

Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) logo
Source: Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA)

The Singapore Indian Development Association (SINDA) was established in 1991 to help the Indian community in Singapore.

While its main focus is on education, it also provides a wide range of services to support parents and help families in need.

SINDA offers a wide range of initiatives targetted to help low-income families through different means.

This ranges from one-time cash assistance, to multiple payouts to families requiring greater financial support.

Beyond financial aid, SINDA also recognises the other struggles faced by the community.

As such, it also offers help such as counselling services and career support.

Interested individuals can find out more details here.

Singapore Teochew Foundation (STF)

Singapore Teochew Foundation logo
Source: Singapore Teochew Foundation

The Singapore Teochew Foundation (STF) provides short term financial help for Singaporeans, especially those in the Teochew Community.

It currently runs an STF Hardship Assistance Scheme, which aims to assist Singaporean families when they lose the support of their sole or main breadwinner due to unforeseen circumstances.

This scheme is open to all Singaporeans, but priority would be given to the Teochew community.

It offers help of up to 6 consecutive months, with its length being based on a case-by-case review.

profile
About Xue Miao
A millennial who is learning to adult. She doesn't believe in the rat race and hopes to live on a farm someday.
You can contribute your thoughts like Xue Miao here.

Still have more questions after reading the article? Fret not, ask our community here!

Stay updated with the latest finance tips!
Receive bite-sized finance on Telegram here.

What's Popular

    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
Comments
97
shares

What's Popular

    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles
    • Loading articles

Still have more questions after reading the article? Fret not, ask our community here!