The Singapore Government offers a variety of financial assistance schemes. They include Covid-19 related assistance, educational and child care grants, and grants available to disability-related matters.
Their HOPE program is a very comprehensive scheme assisting young people with home-ownership, employment-related training, and the education of up to 2 children.
In this article, we will discuss a few of these schemes, explicitly focusing on the following:
- Covid-19 Related Financial Assistance
- Educational/Child Care Grants
- Baby Bonus Scheme
- Disabilities-Related Grants
- ComCare Long-Term Assistance
- Home Ownership Plus Education (HOPE) Scheme
Covid-19 Related Financial Assistance
The COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG): This assistance scheme is specifically for those who, during the Covid-19 pandemic, have lost their jobs or a large percentage of their income. There are two categories where assistance is offered.
Loss Of Job: If you’ve lost your job due to retrenchment or termination of an employment contract, you are eligible for a grant. If you’ve had to take involuntary no-pay leave (NPL) for at least three consecutive months, you also qualify. You are eligible to receive the support of up to $700 per month for three months.
Loss Of Part Of Salary: If you’ve lost 50% or more of your salary on average for at least three consecutive months, you can also apply for assistance from CRG.
Loss of at least 50% of your net trade income (NTI) on average for at least three consecutive months also makes you eligible for assistance if you are self-employed. You can receive the support of up to $500 per month for three months.
The Courage Fund (TCF)
The Courage Fund is for lower-income households affected by COVID-19. To qualify, you must meet specific criteria. At least one household member must be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident.
To apply, one member must have contracted COVID-19 or have been placed on stay-home notice (SHN), mandatory leave of absence (LOA), or home quarantine order (QO). The household should have had a gross monthly income of less than $2,600 before Covid and lost 10% of their income.
Applications for the COVID-19 Recovery Grant (CRG) and The Courage Fund (TCF) can be submitted from 9 am to 10 pm daily. COVID-19 Recovery Grant applications will close on 31 December 2021. For more information and the application form, visit the applicable website.
Educational/Child Care Grants
Child Care Financial Assistance (CCFA): Low-income families with difficult family circumstances can apply for financial assistance if they are still unable to afford their child’s care fees after they’ve received essential subsidies.
A one-time grant for the initial start-up costs of enrolling a child in the center is also available. To qualify, the child should be a Singapore citizen and enrolled in an affordable Child Care Centre.
Both parents should also be working or produce a valid reason for not working. For more information, please approach your child care center. Eligible families apply for assistance through the Child Care Centre.
Kindergarten Fee Assistance Scheme (KiFAS)
This scheme helps parents paying their children’s kindergarten fees. It is administered by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA). KiFAS also assists families with Singapore citizen children attending Anchor Operators programs.
The gross monthly household income must be lower than $12,000. A yearly amount for start-up costs incurred by enrolling your child in kindergarten is also available.
More information can be found on the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA)’s website. Eligible families may apply for KiFAS through the kindergarten as well.
Baby Bonus Scheme
The Baby Bonus Scheme is designed to help families pay for expenses regarding the costs of raising a child. The Baby Bonus Plus is designed to assist parents with out-of-pocket caregiving costs during the first 18 months of their child’s life.
The grant is disbursed at the 15th and 18th-month mark to provide parents with sustainable support. The Cash Gift is applicable for up to 5 children. Information on how to apply and the necessary forms are available online.
Child Development Account (CDA)
The CDA is an extraordinary savings account. It is available for Singaporean children to help build up savings that can be spent on approved uses. When a CDA is opened, the child will receive CDA benefits, including the First Step Grant.
This will be automatically credited after the CDA has been opened. After that, the child receives a dollar-for-dollar Government co-matching for each dollar that the parent’s deposit in the CDA; the CDA can be extended until the child turns 12.
Information on how to apply and the necessary forms are available online.
Assistive Technology Fund (ATF): This fund helps persons with disabilities. The persons are supported with subsidies for a variety of essential services needed by the disabled.
The ATF assists in acquiring, replace, upgrade or repair necessary technical equipment and accessories needed by the disabled person. These accessories include wheelchairs, hearing aids, etc.
The subsidies are means-tested. If you are eligible, the ATF provides up to 90% of the cost of equipment. The amounts are subject to a lifetime cap of $40,000. For more information on how to apply, visit their website.
Foreign Domestic Worker Levy Concession For Persons With Disabilities
The scheme is specifically designed to enable families who employ full-time foreign domestic workers (FDW) to look after family members with disabilities to pay a lower monthly FDW levy of $60 instead of the normal $300.
Each household is eligible for two FDW levy concessions, caring for two disabled persons at any one time. FDW employers of persons caring for persons with disabilities can apply. If you are hiring a foreign domestic worker, you must be the person who receives the care, or the person who needs the care must live with you.
The person who is applying for the subsidy must be a Singapore citizen. You can find out more about these levy concessions on the Ministry of Manpower webpage.
ComCare Long-Term Assistance
You can qualify for ComCare if you cannot work because of old age, illness, or a disability. You must not have family support, assets, or savings to use for your daily needs.
You can also qualify as an older adult if you receive only a small monthly payout from other sources. If you are an older adult and your children are also living on a low income of less than $1,900 themselves and cannot care for you, you can also qualify.
You have to be a Singapore citizen or permanent resident. You can qualify for cash assistance to support living expenses. The amount depends on the size of your family but is between $600 and $1 400.
You can also get assistance with school-going children’s out-of-pocket expenses up to $150 per child per month. To apply, contact your nearest Social Service Office (SSO).
Sabbatical Leave Scheme
The Sabbatical Leave Scheme provides social workers with the opportunity to refresh themselves. Social workers can also use this scheme to get the opportunity to engage in activities for professional advancement.
Social workers who qualify can get up to 10 weeks of paid leave with salary support up to a maximum of $15,000 during the sabbatical period. If you want to use the time for training activities, your fees can be paid by the fund.
The amount is capped at $30,000. The entire Paid Leave and Professional Advancement Sponsorship Package are worth $45,000. The National Council of Social Service administers the Sabbatical Leave Scheme. For more detail and to apply, contact them online.
Home Ownership Plus Education (HOPE) Scheme
This comprehensive scheme has been developed for young, low-income parent(s) who choose to keep their family small to focus their resources on giving their children a head start and improve their financial and social situation.
There are a variety of benefits. Training Incentives: You can receive $2,000 every two years if your family makes efforts to complete training courses that can lead to better employment and a higher income.
The employment must be related to the training. Employment Incentives: A full-time working mother can receive up to $10,000 incentives disbursed in an annual amount of $1,000 for up to 10 years.
Housing And Utilities Assistance
Conditional housing grants are available up to $60,000. It is disbursed in $3,000 annual installments into the mother’s CPF account. There is also a Utilities Grant of $1,000 to help the family with a once-off grant to offset the initial utility bills.
Children And Families Support: Annual bursaries of up to $3,000 for each child attending pre-school to university are available to help pay for educational expenses. You are eligible for this package if your household income is lower than $1,700 and the mother of the household is between 18 and 35 years old.
You must have at least 1, but not more than two children, and all the children must be Singapore citizens. At least one parent must be a Singapore citizen. The husband must be employed.
If you are a Singapore citizen or are married to a Singapore citizen and you are residing in Singapore, you might have access to various financial assistance schemes.
The government offers most of the schemes directly to its citizens or uses government associated organizations to administer the schemes.