COVID-19 Budget: Cash payouts for Singaporeans tripled to $300-$900

HDB flats Lengkok Bahru (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
HDB flats Lengkok Bahru (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — The government will enhance its Care and Support Package announced last month, resulting in a tripling of a cash payout to all adult Singaporeans to between $300 and $900, said Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Thursday (26 March).

Meanwhile, it won’t increase all government fees and charges for one year from 1 April, and suspend late payment charges on HDB mortgage arrears for three months.

The Government had initially allocated $1.6 billion for the Care and Support Package to help households, with the less well-off getting more help. The package will now cost about $4.6 billion.

“Many Singaporeans are concerned about how they will pay their bills and household expenses if their livelihoods are affected during this uncertain period,” said Heng, who was announcing in Parliament the $48 billion Resilience Budget to deal with the massive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We will put more cash in the hands of all families to help them cope,” he added.

To help families with young children, the Government will also triple the additional cash payout for each Singaporean parent with at least one young child from $100 to $300.

Lower-wage workers on the Workfare Income Supplement scheme will get $3,000 in cash for their household needs this year under the enhanced Workfare Special Payment.

Meanwhile, Grocery Vouchers for needy Singaporeans this year will also be tripled from $100 to $300.

With the enhancements, a young family will now get about $2,900 instead of $1,300 under the Care and Support Package, while a three-generation family will get about $6,700 instead of $1,800.

The Government will also increase its help for self-help groups and community development councils (CDCs), which have already stepped up their assistance to those in need.

It will double the grant to these organisations to $20 million over two years, and increase the additional grant for CDCs from $20 million to $75 million.

To help those worried about paying off their student loans in the uncertain economic climate, all graduates who have taken a government loan for their university and polytechnic studies will have their loan repayment and interest charges suspended for one year from 1 June.

For those struggling with HDB mortgage payments, Heng said HDB will continue to exercise flexibility when providing help, through existing measures such as deferring payment of loan instalments by six months.

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