Baby Support Grant Extended To Include Babies Born Ahead of Estimated Delivery Dates in October
The National Population and Talent Division will soon provide more information on how parents can submit appeals.
Parents of Singaporean children born before Oct 1 but whose certified estimated delivery date was on or after Oct 1 can make an appeal to qualify for the one-off Baby Support Grant (BSG) of S$3,000.
This comes after the Government received feedback, appeals and petitions in pushing for an earlier start date of the grant eligibility, shared Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Indranee Rajah, during a speech in Parliament on Thursday (Oct 15).
The government announced last Friday that babies born from Oct 1 this year to Sep 30 2020 will be eligible for the one-off BSG of S$3,000.
The National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) will soon provide more information on how parents can submit appeals, according to Ms Indranee, who oversees the division.
It will help couples “defray child-raising costs during these extraordinary times,” according to the NPTD.
Residents Raised Concerns Over Start Date of Grant Eligibility
According to Mr Saktiandi Supaat (Bishan-Toa Payoh GRC), Ms He Ting Ru (Sengkang GRC) among others during their speeches on Wednesday and Thursday, residents raised concerns about why the BSG does not include parents whose babies were born prior to Oct 1.
“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,” responded Ms Indranee in her speech.
“I acknowledge their concerns and I think it would be useful for me to share more about our considerations when designing this scheme.”
In June 2020, a survey conducted by the National Population and Talent Division (NPTD) and the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) revealed that three out of 10 Singaporean couples were planning to delay having a child due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apart from the uncertainty over the pandemic, couples surveyed also revealed uncertainty over financial stability and employment as one of the top reasons for postponing their parenthood plans.
In addressing these concerns, Ms Indranee says this one-off additional support is designed to complement the existing Baby Bonus Cash Gift (eligible parents get up to S$10,000 in benefits).
Baby Support Grant Extended: Important To Get Support Out As Quickly As Possible To Singaporeans
According to Ms Indranee, several start dates were considered when the scheme was designed, including Jan 1 next year as part of the budget for 2021.
“However, we felt it was important to get the support out as quickly as we can, to help more Singaporeans with their parenthood aspirations,” she said.
“Announcing the plans next year could mean that parents may delay attempts to have a child in the meantime. So, we tried hard to see how we could do this earlier.”
On how Oct 1 was set as the start date, Ms Indranee who is also Second Minister for Finance and National Development said that the Government was able to set aside some budget this year—despite its tight fiscal situation—to provide more support for Singaporean parents as soon it could.
Ms Indranee said authorities received a wide range of suggestions on preferred start dates. According to her, some people wanted it set a few months ago and others suggested to date back to 2019—even before the pandemic started. She said that one had even asked for the grant to be given to all children under the age of seven.
However, she noted that regardless of the effective start date, there will always be some babies who are born before it.
“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,” she explained.
Ms Indranee also shared that there is already substantial government support for parents of children born before Oct 1 this year, whereby they can get cash and “cash-like support” ranging between S$18,000 for a first child and S$32,000 for fifth and subsequent children—even without the Baby Support Grant.
She adds that there are also enhanced subsidies for infant and childcare where families can receive up to S$1,310 in infant care subsidies or up to S$767 in childcare subsidies each month.
“As society continues to evolve, our policies will be updated to keep pace with societal realities. We do understand the difficulties that families, especially those with babies and young children, face during this period, and have implemented measures like those I had described earlier this year. We will continue to support families during these extraordinary times,” said Ms Indranee.
You can find more information on the details to be submitted for the grant, here.
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