SINGAPORE — Singapore will extend a one-off $3,000 Baby Support Grant – offered originally to parents of infants born between 1 October 2020 and 30 September 2022 – to those whose babies were born before October, but who had a certified estimated delivery date on or after 1 October.
This was announced by Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, in Parliament on Thursday (15 October). She said the authorities had listened to feedback, appeals and “even petitions” from this specific group of parents.
The grant aims to provide additional support to help couples defray child-raising costs during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, said the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) when it announced the initiative last week.
It was designed to augment the existing Baby Bonus Cash Gift and provide extra support for parents who wish to have a child, so that they would not postpone their parenthood plans, said Indranee, who oversees the NPTD.
“I fully understand that parents who were not eligible to receive the Baby Support Grant are disappointed, especially since this has been a challenging year for everybody,” she said.
“I acknowledge their concerns and I think it would be useful to share more about our considerations when designing this scheme.”
Several start dates considered
Several start dates were considered, including 1 January next year as part of the Budget for 2021. However, the government felt it was important to get the support out as quickly as possible, hence the decision to make the grant effective from October.
“Regardless of the effective start date, there will always be some babies who are born before it. The appeals we have received to change the start date of the Baby Support Grant come with a wide range of suggestions for the start date,” Indranee said.
These included 1 January, April – when the circuit-breaker period began – and even a suggestion that the grant be extended to all children under the age of seven.
“Each group has reasons for the dates proposed, and looking at it from their perspective, they are all valid. But we can only choose one date, and whichever date we choose, there will be groups who are not covered,” Indranee said.
Other support grants for parents
Indranee highlighted other government support already available for parents of children born before 1 October. These parents are able to receive cash and “cash-like support” ranging between $18,000 for a first child and $32,000 for fifth and subsequent children, not including the Baby Support Grant.
Subsidies for infant and childcare have also been enhanced, with families now able to receive up to $1,310 in infantcare subsidies or up to $767 in childcare subsidies each month.
“We do understand the difficulties that families, especially those with babies and young children, face during this period,” Indranee said.
She added that the government would continue to review and enhance the suite of measures already in place, to help Singaporeans form and grow families.
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