SINGAPORE - All Singaporeans aged 21 and older this year will get a one-off cash payout of between $100 and $300, depending on their income.
Parents with at least one Singaporean child aged 20 and younger this year will each receive an additional $100 in cash.
The cash payout scheme is part of a $1.6 billion Care and Support package to help families defray some of their household expenses amid the downturn.
Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat said in Parliament on Tuesday (Feb 18) afternoon: "This year, with the economic slowdown and the uncertainities of the Covid-19 outbreak, we are mindful that many families are facing greater pressures.
"During my fellow MPs' and my own walkabouts, people often tell us that they are worried about job security and rising expenditures."
Those with an assessable income of up to $28,000 for the 2019 year of assessment will get $300. Those who earn between $28,001 and $100,000 get $200 and those earning over $100,000 or who own more than one property will get $100.
Besides the one-time cash payout, the Government will also extend the service and conservancy charges (S&CC) rebate, of between 1.5 and 3.5 months, by another year.
For example, those living in three- and four-room flats get 2.5 months in the S&CC rebate, while those living in five-room flats get two months.
This year, the Government will also double the amount of rebate for utilities expenses that eligible HDB dwellers get, via a one-off GST Voucher - U-Save Special Payment. For example, a family living in a five-room flat gets $280 a year through the regular GSTV-U-Save rebate. With the new one-off voucher, they get another $280, making it a total of $560 a year.
And larger families, defined as those with five or more members, will get more help. They get 2.5 times their regular GSTV-U-Save rebates this year.
"This will help to free up cash for other household expenses," said Mr Heng.
The Finance Minister also announced that the Government will give a $100 top-up to the PAssion cards of all Singaporeans aged 50 and older this year. This money can be used to pay for groceries, activities and facilities at community clubs, among other things.
Those who do not have a PAssion card can get one for free to receive their top-up.
Besides the cash payouts and rebates to families, the Government will also give a $10 million grant to self-help groups over two years so that they can help more families.
Community development councils (CDCs), which run schemes to meet the needs of families in their areas, will also get more money. The CDCs will get $20 million to do more and better meet the needs of their residents through local initiatives.
Help for families is one of three prongs that Mr Heng outlined on Tuesday as part of the Government's drive to build a "caring and inclusive home". The others are support for seniors and prompting Singaporeans to give more to those in need.
Mr Heng noted that the Government has significantly increased social spending over the past decade. For instance, between 2010 and 2019, healthcare expenditure tripled to about $12 billion. Another $1.1 billion in cash was given out to Singaporeans who need more help, through schemes such as ComCare, Workfare Income Supplement and Silver Support.
"This social spending reflects our commitment to invest in our people, to give every citizen a stake in society, to care for our seniors, and to provide more help to those with less."