All Singaporeans aged 21 and older this year will receive a one-off cash payout of between $100 and $300 to help with their household expenses amid the economic slowdown and the coronavirus outbreak. 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 announced by Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat in Parliament yesterday.
He said: "This year, with the economic slowdown and the uncertainties 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 in-come of up to $28,000 for the 2019 year of assessment will get $300. Those who earn between $28,001 and $100,000 will 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, for another year.
For example, those living in three-and four-room Housing Board flats get 2.5 months in S&CC rebate, while those living in five-room HDB flats get two months.
The Government will also double the amount of rebate for utilities expenses that eligible HDB dwellers get, via a one-off goods and services tax voucher (GSTV) - U-Save Special Payment.
For example, a family living in a five-room flat gets $280 a year with the regular GSTV-U-Save rebate. With the new one-off voucher, the family will get another $280, making it a total of $560 a year.
Larger households, defined as those with five or more members, will get more help. They will 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.
He also announced that the Government will make 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 they can help more families.
Community development councils, which run schemes to meet the needs of families in their areas, will get $20 million to do more and better meet the needs of their residents.
Mr Heng said helping families is part of the Government's drive to build a "caring and inclusive home". The other ways of doing so are: Supporting seniors and encouraging Singaporeans to give more to those in need.
He said that the Government has significantly increased social spending over the past decade.
For instance, between 2010 and last year, healthcare expenditure tripled to about $12 billion a year.
Last year, about $1.1 billion in cash was given to Singaporeans who needed more help, through schemes such as ComCare for the vulnerable, the Workfare Income Supplement for lower-wage workers and Silver Support for vulnerable seniors.
"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," Mr Heng said.