SINGAPORE - Madam Sulami Hassan retired as a gardener two years ago after suffering a stroke.
She now lives with her daughter, Ms Noor Sheela Sani, who said that looking after her 71-year-old mother has been tough "emotionally and financially". Ms Noor Sheela works as a school administrative clerk.
Madam Sulami will be one of 1.6 million Singaporeans set to benefit from goods and services tax (GST) benefits and Medisave top-ups - worth a total of $1 billion - which were announced on Thursday (June 28) by the Ministry of Finance.
Eligible Singaporeans will receive text messages or letters by July 6 to tell them what they are due under the GST Voucher (GSTV) Scheme, which was introduced in 2012 to help lower- and middle-income Singaporeans offset some of their GST expenses.
The criteria for eligible Singaporeans includes age and annual home value.
As announced in Budget 2018, a one-off SG Bonus of up to $300 will be given at the end of the year to Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2018. A one-off Service and Conservancy Charges (S&CC) Rebate will also be given to provide additional support to households.
Ms Noor Sheela, 24, said the money will come in handy.
"When my mother had a stroke, it was really hard for me," she said. "We did not have the money to afford medical bills and stuff like that. The GST Vouchers will really help to lighten our financial burden. I am very thankful. The money will be saved for an emergency."
She added: "The Medisave top-ups will also be used to offset some of the medical bills as my mother has to take a lot of medication for diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and more."
Citizens can use their SingPass to view their GSTV-Cash and Medisave benefits online at www.gstvoucher.gov.sg
- About 1.39 million Singaporeans will receive up to $300 in GSTV-Cash in August.
- About 485,000 Singaporeans aged 65 and above in 2018 will receive up to $450 in GSTV-Medisave;
- In addition, about 520,000 Singaporeans born on or before Dec 31, 1959 (59 and above in 2018), and who do not receive Pioneer Generation benefits will receive a Medisave top-up of up to $200.
- Singaporeans aged 21 and above in 2018 can receive an SG Bonus of up to $300 at the end of the year.
GSTV - U-Save
- 900,000 eligible Housing Board households will receive an additional U-Save of $20 a year from 2019 to 2021, which will help to offset utilities bills.
One-off service and conservancy charges rebate
- About 900,000 eligible Singaporean HDB households will receive 1.5 to 3.5 months of S&CC rebates until January next year, depending on their HDB flat type.